We know that gum disease is the leading cause of receding gums. However, it’s also important to treat receding gums as a serious health warning. That’s because gum disease is also linked to many other serious health conditions.
Now a new study has reaffirmed the association between gum disease and cancer. This very large, and very long study provides very convincing evidence that the two conditions are linked.
Linking Gum Disease and Cancer
The data for this study comes from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) population. This population of about 7500 people were examined for gum disease in 1996-97. Researchers then followed the population for an average of 15 years after their initial exam, charting 1648 cancer cases, including 547 cancer deaths.
They found that, after adjusting for other risk factors, people with gum disease were 24% more likely to develop cancer than those with good gum health. In particular, people with severe gum disease were more than twice as likely to develop lung cancer and colorectal cancer.
However, the study didn’t show a link with other types of cancer, such as prostate, blood, or breast cancer. This is in contrast to previous studies that show links to other types of cancer, such as breast cancer.
Although individual studies may disagree about the types of cancer linked to gum disease, it seems there is a growing body of evidence that supports the link between gum disease and cancer.
Will Treating Gum Disease Reduce Cancer Risk?
One thing this and other studies about gum disease and cancer risk don’t show is whether treating gum disease can reduce your cancer risk. This will help us to understand how modifiable this risk is. Perhaps the link is genetic: people who are at higher risk for cancer are also at higher risk for gum disease. Or perhaps they’re linked through another factor like smokeless tobacco use. But perhaps gum disease is causing cancer.
We do know from other studies that treating gum disease can have a positive impact on many other health conditions. Treating gum disease, for example, has been shown to reduce the risks of heart disease, stroke, pregnancy complications, and diabetes.
What we do know is that treating gum disease can protect you from receding gums and tooth loss.
Unfortunately, once your gum disease has been treated, your gums won’t grow back. If they are receded, they can stay receded, which can make your smile look unattractive, aged, and unhealthy.
But there’s good news: we can restore your gums to a youthful, healthy position. This can reverse the impact of gum disease on the appearance of your smile so that you can have a smile that looks healthy and attractive.