You strive to promote a healthy smile, which is why you take the time to brush your teeth twice a day to prevent tooth decay. While cavities are common, they are not the biggest threat to your oral health. Your gums can also impact your dental health, which is why flossing is important. If you do not take the time to clean between your teeth or around the gum line, an infection known as gum disease can develop. This can wreak havoc in your mouth; however, it can lead to general health complications as well, including the development of cancer. To reduce your risk, your dentist in Longmeadow will play a valuable role in the treatment of the infection.
Gum Disease and Cancer
Gum disease is a preventable infection that develops in the gingival tissues due to bacteria that is found in plaque and tartar accumulations. While it can be avoided, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 50% of adults in the U.S. have a form of the infection.
When left untreated, it will begin to destroy the supporting structures of your teeth, eventually leading to tooth loss. The bacteria responsible for the infection can also enter your bloodstream. As it circulates throughout your body, it increases your risk for several health problems, like cardiovascular disease, pulmonary infections, and diabetic complications; however, they are not the only concern.
New research shows that those with severe gum disease have as much as a 24% risk for developing cancer. According to the study, the longer the infection is untreated, the higher your risk for lung and colorectal cancer.
A recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reported that the risk for cancer further increases for those who have tooth loss caused by the infection. In fact, the risk raises to 28% for those who have no remaining natural teeth.
Patients who participated in the study underwent laboratory testing. It was discovered that the bacteria responsible for the infection was found in the cancerous tissue. While it is not certain how the infection can lead to the development of cancer, there is a direct link between the two. As a result, it is vital to protect your mouth and body by preventing gum disease.
Promote Your Gum Health
In addition to brushing your teeth, your oral health also relies on daily flossing. Flossing cleans the areas that your toothbrush cannot reach to remove harmful tartar accumulations that contain bacteria. This is the most beneficial means to reduce your risk for gum disease.
Next to your home oral hygiene habits, regular appointments with your dentist for a cleaning and checkup are equally as important. If it has been more than 6 months since your last visit, now is the time to schedule an appointment.
About Drs. Scannell & Hollinger, Inc.
Drs. Scannell & Hollinger, Inc. provides complete dental care to the community to promote overall and oral health. In addition to cleanings and checkups, they offer the services necessary to treat gum disease. If you have the infection, do not wait. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.