Ask a Dentist

Q: Does gum disease cause cancer?

A:

Researchers aren’t sure about the links between gum disease and cancer, though one study of 48,000 men done at The Lancet Oncology showed men with a history of the periodontal disease may be 14% more likely to get cancer. Another study of over 65,000 women published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention medical journal showed women with gum disease may increase their risks of cancer by 14%. There’s a big difference between gingivitis and periodontitis, which is one reason why these studies are inconclusive. Gingivitis is less severe and may be cleaned up in one dental visit. Periodontitis causes more-difficult-to-alleviate symptoms, such as pockets in your gums, receding gums or tooth loss.Even though studies don’t prove the link between gum disease and cancer yet, you’ll want to take care of your gums. Other research shows gum disease may increase your risks for heart disease. Remember, your oral health is linked to your overall body health. If you can’t remember your last check-up, call one of our offices.