If you think the worst you can do to your oral health by not taking proper care for the teeth is tooth decay, you are wrong. It can cause much worse damage than the tooth decay. It can also lead to cancer! New researches show that the periodontal infections (gum infections) have a larger connection to cancer precursors and that in particular can lead to stomach cancer!
As scary as it seems, periodontal diseases are linked to many kinds of cancer. It can cause cancer even in people who have never smoked, never used tobacco or used anything that is popularly connected to this disease. The oral hygiene now has far more implications than just being a healthy routine for a healthy body.
Periodontal diseases and cancer
Periodontal diseases or the diseases around the teeth are caused by plaque, produced by the bacteria. This can later turn into infections and inflammations. The worst expected outcome is loose tooth due to these problems. But these inflammations can later cause cancer in the digestive system or to any other parts or organs.
The bacteria from these infections are always present in the mouth. When their population is higher, these bacteria can even travel through the food pipe or blood and reach the digestive system. These bacteria can then cause inflammations in any of the internal organs.
What leads to cancer is certain chemical caused by the inflammation and presence of bacteria. These common inflammations could form precancerous lesions inside the body. Though these lesions may not always develop into cancer, the risk cannot be ruled out. Yet, studies show that periodontal diseases can be linked to stomach cancer.
Gum infections and women
There is a fair population of women who live with gum diseases. The risk is that these women are prone to develop cancer in general. It is the esophageal cancer that is most likely to develop. Though there is no clear evidence of what exactly is the cause for the cancer formation, facts do hint at chronic inflammation as the major trigger here.
Further studies reveal that these risks are more for women who have passed the menopausal stage.
Risk factors Of Gum Infections
Studies show that people who have lost more than 10 teeth are more likely to develop gastric cancer. This is not gender based and can happen in either men or women. There are other studies that show conflicting results where there is NO established link between gastric cancer and gum diseases.
The point is, the longer the gum diseases stay greater can be the risk of cancer of all types. Since the inflammation causing bacteria enters the blood and can reach any part of the body, all types of cancer are a possibility. The direct link or the authenticity of these claims is not known thus far. Keeping a healthy oral hygiene can do a lot better than we all thought of.
Even though the exact cause for cancer due to gum diseases is not established, these researches also mention that there are other factors adding to this situation. Age, gender, other diseases like diabetes, dietary habits etc have also got a say in this matter. A person who has lost so many teeth is more likely to eliminate many of the foods from his/her menu. This can have an impact on the nutrient absorption and the body’s ability in absorbing these nutrients.
The assumption is that the gum diseases cause inflammation and there are carcinogenic by-products as a result. The nitrosamines are one among them that are linked to cancers. It can cause stomach, esophagus or pancreatic cancers. The inflammatory mediators of the body are also associated with cancerous cells.
Among other factors that relate gum diseases to cancer are, genetics, smoking, tobacco use, braces on the teeth, stress, hormones, medications and other diseases.
Genetics and cancer are highly related. The chances are more for those who have had family members suffering from this disease. Smoking and tobacco ARE directly involved in cancer-causing. The braces or alignment work done on the teeth can promote plaque or tartar formation which can cause or worsen the gum diseases.
Grinding the teeth and causing inflammations, stress, hormone imbalance etc can weaken the immune system. Certain medications and types of diseases can also trigger cancer.
How to prevent gum diseases
Since the main connection between periodontal diseases and cancer is the number of missing teeth, measures must be taken to save the teeth. A proper oral hygiene can save the teeth and maintain it.
Daily brushing and flossing become a must under these circumstances. Even if there are no ongoing gum diseases, people who have had it in the past must also follow a strict routine to prevent the recurrence.
Dental checkups every 6 months comes next in the must-follow-list. The professional cleaning can remove plaque easily and reduce their formation as well. Since plaque is the first stage to gum diseases, this has much more significance.
To top it all, have a good and balanced diet that provides all the nutrition needed by the body. It can strengthen the immunity and also provide healthy mouth and gums.
Cancer is not a disease but is a condition that arises when the circumstances are favorable for those notorious cells. We all have cancer-causing cells in our body. It is the conditions and the immune system that keeps them under control. Diseases of all kinds, especially the ones that cause inflammations are always a risk for cancer formation. Gum diseases happen to be the common and easily spread the bacteria into the body. Preventing gum diseases can be the best way to break the link between gum infections and stomach cancer, or any other type of cancer for that matter.