Monday, May 26, 2008

Gum Disease | Cancer

Gum disease, both in smokers and non-smokers, may be a warning sign of an increased risk of cancer. Researches found gum disease was linked to a higher chance of lung, kidney, pancreatic and blood cancers. An immune system weakness may cause both illnesses so the need to conduct regular checkups. Although the risk is higher on people who smoke, even in those who have never smoked, the presence of gum disease means a bigger risk of cancer. While there was no rise in lung cancer chances among those with gum disease who had never smoked, there was a slightly higher increase in the overall risk of any cancer, and a similar rise in the rate of blood cancers.

There are a number of theories as to why the presence of gum disease might be linked to other illnesses. People with gum infections have been found to have chemical signs that the inflammation there may be mirrored in other parts of the body - there have also been suggestions that bacteria linked to gum disease could cause problems elsewhere. The increase in blood cancers pointed to an immune system link. The persistent presence of gum disease might be a sign of weakness in the immune system which could also allow cancer to develop. But doctors are advising people with gums problems should seek first dental rather than medical help first. Dentists are trained to spot cancers in the mouth, they were becoming increasingly aware of the implications of gum disease for overall health, and were prepared to refer patients on in cases of unexpectedly serious gum disease in otherwise healthy patients.



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