Gum Disease linked to Breast Cancer

Updated at: Feb 02, 2013
Gum Disease linked to Breast Cancer

Research links periodontal disease with breast cancer.

Vidya Subramanian
Dental HealthWritten by: Vidya SubramanianPublished at: Apr 21, 2011

Dentist checking a patientIn a startling piece of a research that combines two well known and hitherto thought to be unrelated diseases, periodontal disease has been linked to breast cancer. In a world where the rise in the number of cases of breast cancer has been referred to as alarming, this new research could have wide repercussions. But doctors are not ringing the alarm bells yet. “The research certainly throws up some interesting questions, but more work has to be done in analysis and research before it comes to a stage of prescription and medication for one disease based on the occurrence of the other.” said one Delhi-based medical practitioner on grounds of anonymity. “I advise patients not to panic and consult doctors before assuming the worst." he adds.


The root of these speculations is a research study recently published by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden which suggests that gum disease may be related to breast cancer, among other systemic illnesses such as heart disease and stroke. The study puts forward the idea that the risk of a woman developing breast cancer could be amplified by chronic gum disease. The study analysed and evaluated over three thousand women between the ages of 30 and 40 over a 16 year period. Among the women studied for the research, those women who reported that they had suffered from chronic gum disease or had lost teeth due to periodontal disease were found to be more than two times as likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer as compared to those women who had healthy gums.


Gum disease has several easily identifiable symptoms like red, swollen, sore, or bleeding gums. Premature tooth loss may also be an indication of periodontal problems. But it has not yet been established exactly why gum disease is linked to breast cancer or exactly how the link is established.




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