Tooth loss link to breast cancer

A new study suggests that women may be over 11 times more likely to suffer from breast cancer if they have missing teeth and gum disease.

The study [1], carried out by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden on more than 3,000 patients, showed that out of the 41 people who developed breast cancer those who had gum disease and loss of teeth were 11 times more likely to develop cancer.

As this appears to be the first study presenting such findings, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, believes more needs to be done in order to confirm the results.

Dr Carter says: ‘If future studies can also testify to the link between missing teeth and breast cancer, more has to be done to raise public awareness on the issue. The British Dental Health Foundation has a history of campaigning for better oral health, and the findings presented in the study indicate another clear link between your general and oral health.’


[1] Söder, B, Yakob, M, Meurman, J, Andersson, L, Klinge, B, Söder, P, 8 October 2010, ‘Periodontal disease may associate with breast cancer’, Karolinska Institute, Sweden. The main purpose of the study was to evaluate the association between periodontal (gum) disease and the prevalence of breast cancer in 3273 randomly selected subjects aged 30–40. Breast cancer incidence was registered from 1985 to 2001 according to the WHO International Classification of Diseases criteria. At baseline, 1676 individuals also underwent a clinical oral examination (Group A) whereas 1597 subjects were not clinically examined but were registered (Group B). The associations between breast cancer, periodontal disease, and missing molars were determined using multiple logistic regression models with several background variables and known risk factors for cancer.

 

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