The importance of oral health received a boost from a recent study that determined gum disease could increase the risk for cancer.
Nearly 50,000 male doctors and health professionals took part in a study that began in 1986. The men contributed personal information on gum disease and tooth loss. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth.
Over the course of the study, more than 5,700 cancer cases were reported. Excluding cases of non-melanoma skin cancer and non-aggressive prostate cancer, researchers determined that the men who developed gum disease had a 14% higher risk of developing cancer.
The study found the most common cancers reported among participants were colorectal, melanoma, lung and bladder and advanced prostate cancer. Risk factors, such as smoking and diet, were also taken into account.
The report is expected to be published in the June edition of The Lancet Oncology.