Gum Disease Could Increase Your Cancer Risk

A recent study found a link between periodontal (gum) disease and a 14% increase in cancer among older women, and a 12% increase in women that have never smoked.

The study followed more than 73,000 post-menopausal women enrolled in the ongoing Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study.  

Periodontal disease is linked to a 14% increase in breast cancer. Smoking history has been known to cause oral cancers and worsen the effects of gum disease. For women that have quit in the last 20 years, women with gum disease had a 36% higher risk of breast cancer than those without gum disease. 

Gum disease has also been linked to an increase in melanoma, oral, head and neck, gallbladder, lung and stomach cancers.

Periodontal pathogens have been found in pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions. Although the exact reason isn’t known, researchers believe that the bacteria may spread through inhalation or saliva when you swallow, as well as bacteria entering the bloodstream through oral tissues.

The oral cavity is a part of the human body, and should not be overlooked when evaluating overall health. We have known that periodontal disease leads to tooth loss, but this may have long term implications in maintaining solid oral health for overall well-being.

Periodontal disease is both preventable and manageable, so the next time you think about canceling your dental appointment or are too tired to floss, think about how you could be affecting your body.

The occurrence of oral cancer is also on the rise.

Over 49,000 people in the United States are affected by oral cancer each year, and one in four of these people had no risk factors when diagnosed. These statistics are alarming but can be improved simply by prevention and early detection. Through lifestyle changes and annual screenings, you have the power to decrease your chances of getting oral cancer.

Vizilite Plus® is a simple, painless procedure that involves a rinse and the use of a light wand. It helps detect tissue abnormalities that may go undetected during a standard visual exam.

We are committed to providing the best care possible for our patients and are focused on the prevention of all oral diseases.

Cape May Dental Associates is located at 411 Park Blvd., Cape May, NJ 08204. Call (609) 884-5335, or visit Follow us on Facebook, or email us at