Cancer: the risk increases with inflammation of the gums

Scientists argue that the risk of cancer will increase in people with periodontitis, a severe gum disease.

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have linked advanced gum disease to cancer risk. Called periodontitis, this severe gum disease is caused by a bacterial infection that damages the soft tissues and bones that support the teeth. If the mechanism linking the two diseases is still uncertain, it is clear to these scientists that periodontitis increases the risk of cancer.

According to this study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the research team studied data from complete dental examinations performed on 7,466 patients as part of their participation in the ARIC study (Atherosclerosis Risk). in Communities) from the late 1990s to 2012. In their analysis, they found a 24% increase in the risk of developing cancer in participants with severe periodontitis, compared to those with mild to severe any.

Smoking increases risks

The highest risk would be for lung cancer and colorectal cancer. Notably because of smoking: smokers are indeed more likely to contract periodontitis and smoking significantly increases the risk of lung cancer and colon cancer. However, there is no link between periodontitis and the risk of breast, prostate or blood cancer, which may help to understand the mechanism of the relationship between cancer and gum disease. "The bacteria that cause periodontal disease may go directly from the mouth to the lungs, or from the mouth to the colon," says Elizabeth Platz, vice president of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. .

Socio-economic factors in patients' lives, as well as their access to care and care were also taken into account. It was found that those with little or no access to health care, including dental exams and cancer screenings such as colonoscopy, also had an increased risk of periodontal disease and cancer. According to the researchers, this study allows to know more about the risks related to the periodontal disease, and could "give more support to dental insurance".

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