Breast Cancer and Oral Health

Do you know how important is the health of your teeth and gums?  So important, that studies have shown it plays a role in breast cancer risk!

A study published in 2011 showed that women who reported that they had suffered from chronic gum disease or had lost teeth due to gum disease were found to be more than two times as likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer as compared to those who had healthy gums.

Several studies have shown the same:  The Journal of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment conducted a survey of 3,273 people and found that individuals with chronic gum disease had a higher occurrence of breast cancer.  Another study was reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and was conducted between 1985 to 2001. This study also concluded that gum disease increases the risk of breast cancer.  You may be up to 11 times more likely to develop breast cancer if you have poor oral health or gum disease.

Gum disease has been linked to several general health chronic illnesses, including pneumonia, prostate cancer, stroke, heart disease, problem pregnancy, diabetes and breast cancer…. In general, gum disease causes inflammation.  This chronic inflammation is a marker for generalized ill-health.

When you have this low-grade inflammation, your immune system gets “caught up” trying to fight this off.  That means that your immune system is otherwise occupied and cannot fend off cancer cells.  Even more fundamentally, reactive oxygen species are molecules which are released in chronic inflammation.  In this case, drastic numbers of these molecules are released.  In the blood stream, these molecules can cause mutations and overgrowth of cells.

Lesson learned?  Your oral health is incredibly important for your breast health!

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