Women with periodontitis are three times more likely to develop breast cancer, a new study has shown.
The authors now believe that breast cancer could be triggered as a result of the systemic inflammation which originates in infected gums.
They also suggest that bacteria from gum disease could be entering the circulatory system, which could then affect breast tissue.
‘Interestingly, this research shows that there is evidence to support the theory that gum disease can have a much larger impact on the health of our whole body,’ Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, says.
‘It suggests that severe gum disease is associated with instances of breast cancer and this may be through spread of infection and inflammation starting in the mouth.
‘It’s important to recognise though that gum disease has not been proven to cause breast cancer, or any other form of the disease and it remains to be seen whether it is just an association.
‘The research mentions that more research is required in order to identify the specific relationship, something we very much welcome.
‘If we can study periodontal disease and breast cancer in other populations, and if we can do a more detailed study of the characteristics of periodontal disease, it would help us understand more about the relationship.’
Periodontitis has been linked with numerous other diseases, including increasing the chances of developing Alzheimer’s.
A recent study found that patients with long standing gum disease lasting for more than 10 years increased their chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 70%.
‘The health risks associated with gum disease are definitely not limited to the mouth, there is clear evidence that it is associated extremely serious health problems,’ Nigel continued.
‘This problem is made even worse due to the prevalence of gum disease; it is estimated that it affects half of all adults in the UK and up to 15% of adults are estimated to have severe periodontitis.
‘The best way to cut your risk of gum disease is to ensure that you have an effective oral health routine.’