The bacteria that causes gum disease may also increase the risk of oral cancer. Gum disease, or periodontitis, is one of the most common dental afflictions worldwide. It develops when the growth of plaque is not kept in check through proper oral care.
Dentists like Staplehurst Dental Practice have long warned against the dangers of plaque and its undesirable effects. Along with bleeding, swollen gums, periodontitis eventually leads to a receding gum line, bone loss and tooth loss.
Chronic Inflammation and Oral Cancer
The chronic inflammation caused by periodontitis greatly increases the risk of developing oral cancer. Fusobacterium nucleatum, a bacteria that causes the disease, weakens the immune system and prevents it from attacking cancer cells. This allows the cancer cells to multiply, eventually leading to head and neck cancers.
Researchers also discovered that the periodontitis-induced bone loss is a risk factor. For every millimetre of lost bone, the risk of developing oral cancer increases fourfold.
Though the link is highest amongst those who have mouth and throat cancer, there is also a higher chance of developing other types. Periodontitis may also lead to lung, kidney, blood and pancreatic cancers.
Prevention is Key
Cancer is notoriously difficult to treat and leads to thousands of deaths every year. Dentists advise patients to come in regularly for appointments to monitor their health. Dentists can provide oral cancer screening and spot the early signs of mouth disease.
Thorough brushing and flossing remove the plaque that builds up in the area. A dental hygienist may also provide more in-depth cleaning. The removal of hardened plaque requires professional treatment. This is especially true for when there is plaque buildup underneath the gum line. The dentist may have to lift the flap and scrape away the tartar using a curette.
Periodontitis is extremely problematic. Prevent it from taking hold so that you save not only your teeth but your life as well.