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Can Good Oral Hygiene Reduce Cancer Risk?

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No Definitive Answer

A key point to make is that there is no 100% conclusive answer. Some research has seemingly established a link between aspects of dental health and cancer risk but it would be wrong to state that this is proven beyond doubt.

As with most research in its infancy there is need for more research to prove, or disprove, this connection beyond doubt.

A Key Piece Of Work

A year later in 2018, research led by Tufts University suggested a link between periodontitis – advanced gum disease – and increased cancer risk. The study of some 7,466 participants looked at dental health and then whether those participants went on to get cancer over a 10-year period.

The standout headline was that there was a 24% increase in the risk of developing cancer among patients who had severe periodontitis at the start of the process, compared to those with at-worst mild periodontitis. Among patients with no teeth – often a sign of extreme periodontitis – the increase was 28%. The study found that the risk of lung cancer and colon cancer saw the greatest increase – those with severe periodontitis were more than twice as likely to then get lung cancer.

Flaws in previous studies failed to take into consideration whether patients were smokers or had other lifestyle factors that needed to be taken into consideration. Here, even the group of non-smokers followed the same pattern – those with severe periodontitis showed a significant increase in the likelihood of developing lung and other forms of cancer. The team behind this work admit that further work is required, but the results appear to be significant.

Read more on this research here.

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