Connections to Cancer
HOW does gum infection contribute to various types of cancers throughout the body? That we don’t know. It is speculated that the germs involved send toxic materials into the system and these toxins are cancer causing in and of themselves.
Others theorize that it’s the inflammatory potential of gum disease that somehow triggers or promotes cancers. There is a lot of evidence that a number of chemicals indicating generalized inflammation go way up throughout the body when someone has gum disease.
A recent study found that participants with a history of gum disease had:
- A 36 per cent higher risk of lung cancer
- A 49 per cent higher risk of kidney cancer
- A 54 per cent higher risk of pancreatic cancer
- A 30 per cent higher risk of white blood cell cancers
Another report showed a five-fold increase in risk for tongue cancer for every millimeter of bone lost to gum attack.
Others may say that individuals who are susceptible to gum inflammation are also more prone to have cancer and that the two are not causally related at all. So the jury is still out. My guess is that there is a STRONG chance that having chronic gum infection with germs and their wasteproducts entering the bloodstream DOES increase cancer risks.
Preventing and stopping gum disease, therefore, may very well cut down the incidence of other cancers throughout the body.