New information shows that gum disease is clearly related to cancer and heart disease according to reliable research and that gum disease represents a public health concern. Gum disease is also related to many other diseases including stroke, kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer and blood cell cancers, and that the public needs to know that having their gums in good health is very important to a body free of serious disease.
Encino, CA (PRWEB) November 19, 2009 -- Evidence is now clear that gum disease should be added to the list of factors that increase your risk of cancer and heart disease. Dental patients with moderate forms of gum disease have an overall 14% increased risk of developing cancer according to a recent British-American report. “People who have been avoiding going to the dentist may want to give their avoidance a second thought,” stated Dr. Allan Melnick on his web site www.FocusedCareDental.com.
It comes as no surprise that most people do not like going to the dentist. At best, most people just tolerate the experience. In fact only about 40% of Americans see their dentist each year. That leaves 60% that only see the dentist for pain or some other pressing problem. It must come as troubling news to those many people that are avoiding their dental visits that they are increasing their risk not only of cancer, but also of many other serious health problems.
According to a recent research report in the highly respected journal Lancet Oncology, cancer risk increases when gum disease is present. In addition, when gums disease is present, the risk of heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, liver disease, blood diseases and brain diseases are also increased. With the latest findings there is enough evidence now to add the risk of cancer to the long list of gum disease related illnesses.
The medical profession believed for hundreds of years that teeth were the cause of many diseases. It was felt that the infected teeth and gums released poisons into the blood. It was common to extract all of a person’s teeth to rid the body of the source of these poisons. Modern medicine rejected this theory well over one hundred years ago and then began to believe there was no connection present. It was thought the old ideas were simply unscientific superstitious beliefs.
Today there are many new studies on the connection between gum diseases and other health problems. With this greater knowledge there is now a new view by the medical profession on the relationship of gum disease to other diseases. Concern is growing about these problems and leading health care providers now often make their patients aware of the risks involved in neglecting their mouths. Checking for gum disease is now a regular part of an examination in both medical and dental offices.
Researchers found that if you have gum disease, the normal act of brushing your teeth or chewing allows bacteria to enter your blood stream. The blood stream then carries throughout the body the oral bacteria and toxins associated with them. These infectious and damaging agents can trigger the immune system which in turn produces chemicals called cytokinens. The liver then produces chemicals called C-reactive proteins (CRP) and finally fibrinogen is released. Oral infections, especially gum infections, can be the cause of these increased levels of infection markers.
The initial studies of the effects of gum disease on the body were related to heart disease. With gum disease present the oral bacteria can attach themselves to the plaque and fatty acids that line the coronary arteries and then increase the build up in these arteries which are critical to heart function. They can also cause blood clots to form in the coronary arteries. This has been shown in several studies and is no longer considered just speculation.
A large study found that heart disease increased by 18% when gum disease was present. Several follow up studies came to the same conclusion and the relationship is now accepted by almost all medical professionals. C-reactive protein is a very good indicator of the chance of a heart attack occurring and is now a standard medical test. Elevated levels are a serious concern.
Research has also been done on the factors related to pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. One long established risk factor for pancreatic cancer is smoking. Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health and the Dana-Farber Cancer institute found gum disease was also associated with an increased risk. They published an article in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute in January 2007. The study found that after adjusting for all factors, men with advanced gum disease had a 33% greater chance of developing pancreatic cancer. Dr. Dominique Michaud and Dr. Charles Fuchs are the key authors of the study and they did point out that further work is needed to better understand and confirm the data.
English and American researchers have found in their study that gum disease is linked not only to pancreatic cancer but to a higher chance of lung, kidney and blood cancers in both smokers and non-smokers. A team at Imperial College London and Harvard studied the statistical health records of 50,000 men. The data was collected over 21 years. In their group of U.S. men, even in those who have never smoked the presence of gum disease meant a higher risk of cancer.
Those with a history of gum disease had a 14% higher chance overall of cancer compared with those with no history of gum disease. There was a 33% increase in the risk of lung cancer. There was a 50% rise in the chance of kidney cancer and a 38% rise in pancreatic cancer. Blood cancers such as leukemia rose by 30% among men with gum disease. In another study it was found that for each millimeter of bone loss in chronic periodontitis, a form of gum disease, there was a four times increase in head and neck cancer.
The search for a precise connection goes on but it is thought that long lasting gum disease can trigger a substantial reduction in the immune response and cause damage to the immune system. This in turn makes it easier for the cancer to grow. It is also possible that the bacteria from the gum disease could be directly causing the cancer themselves. It is known that people with gum disease not only have higher levels of oral bacteria but higher levels of nitrosamines which are a known carcinogen.
It was always noted by the researchers that further studies are needed to confirm the newest statistical data. There are some noted researchers such as Dr. Phillip Preshaw of Newcastle University that felt the findings are not yet conclusive and that more data is needed. Prominent British researcher Dr. Sir Muir Gray stated that ”correlation does not equal causation,” He noted that he is not convinced yet. Encino Dentist Dr. Allan Melnick, a well-known author, researcher and clinician said in a recent interview on the subject “I tell my patients the facts as best I know them, but in the end it is up to them, but I do worry when I look at the data. I have a wealth of information on my blog at www.FocusedCareDental.com/blog. I only wish people would read it. In particular, the parts on gum disease and oral cancer could save their lives.”
So while the data is not proof positive a red warning flag has been raised. Although few people like going to the dentist, it appears that having regular dental care is more important than ever.
# # #
Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2009/11/prweb3221604.htm.
Copyright©2009 Vocus, Inc.
All rights reserved