The connection between gum disease and conditions like heart disease and diabetes seems to be growing more related as study after study reveals how periodontal disease, even at early stages, can affect our overall health. If that weren’t enough, a recent study from the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at University Medical Centre Mainz in Germany published in Head & Face Medicine, (December 9, 2013) reveals there may be a connection to oral cancer as well.
The authors of the study suggest that treatment for patients with chronic periodontitis (gum disease) may reduce the risk of oral squamous cell carcinoma (oral cancer). Oral squamous cell carcinoma occurs on the lips, tongue or anywhere on the inside of the mouth when these cells develop certain mutations in their DNA. Currently, researchers are not sure exactly what factors cause these cells to mutate, but doctors have identified factors that increase the risk of mouth cancer. Some of those risk factors include tobacco use, (this includes cigarettes or chewing tobacco), heavy alcohol use, excessive sun exposure to the lips and HPV (human papillomavirus), which is sexually transmitted. [Read more…]