New Study Identifies Link Between Gum Disease and Breast Cancer

In December, 2015, the University of Buffalo published a study of more than 73 thousand post-menopausal women found that those with periodontal disease were at 14% higher risk of developing breast cancer. The women who developed breast cancer were studied over 6.7 years as part of the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study and did not have cancer at the start of the study. Dr. Jim Erpenbach offers periodontal services to help patients keep gingivitis and other periodontal disease at bay.

Breast cancer, is merely a new addition to an already extensive list of diseases that have been linked to gum disease. Inflammation of the gums has been linked to increased risk of heart attack and stroke, diabetes, pericarditis, dementia, Alzheimer’s and a number of chronic autoimmune conditions. Additionally, research has shown that poor oral health also correlated with more rapid cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients, and 6 times greater morbidity rate for patients with kidney disease.

The cause-and-effect relationship between inflammation of the gums and inflammation in other areas of the body has not been clearly established, but many researchers believe that these disease processes begin or are exacerbated by bacteria entering the bloodstream through the gums.

Dr. Erpenbach recommends that all patients brush and floss at least twice daily and get a professional teeth cleaning every six months. Patients with chronic inflammatory diseases may benefit from getting professional cleanings on a quarterly basis to help further curtail the buildup of bacteria in the mouth. To schedule a cleaning, contact our office at 865-584-8630.