Gum disease, which is often caused by poor oral hygiene, is the #1 cause of tooth loss in adults. It causes swelling, redness, and recession, which is when your gums pull away from your teeth. Tooth loss is bad enough, but can gum disease cause oral cancer, too? Here’s what you should know.
Gum Disease Could Affect Your Risk for Some Cancers
According to a 2020 Harvard study that analyzed data from two large studies, people with a history of gum disease were 43% more likely to get esophageal cancer and 52% more likely to get stomach cancer. This doesn’t mean gum disease causes any type of cancer, but because there’s a link, it’s important to keep your gums healthy.
Gum Disease & Oral Cancer May Look Similar
The symptoms of gum disease and oral cancer can look similar at first, which is why oral cancer screenings are so important. Both can cause tender, swollen gums, bleeding, and pain while you chew. Oral cancer can also cause red or white patches in your mouth. If these patches appear, you should visit a dentist as soon as you can.
Healthy Gums Protect a Healthy Body
Gum disease doesn’t cause oral cancer, but it could increase your risk for a few cancer types. By taking good care of your teeth and visiting the dentist every six months, you protect your gum health and the health of your whole body! Researchers are still learning about the links between gum disease and cancer, so until we know more, it’s best to protect your gums.
Maintain Your Gum Health at Chandler Dental Center in San Antonio, Texas
At every exam, Dr. Chandler and Dr. Heinkel check your mouth for signs of gum disease, oral cancer, and other issues. Mild gum disease is usually treated with improved oral hygiene. For more serious cases, deep cleanings and other treatments may be needed. If we notice signs of oral cancer, we’ll immediately let you know what your options are. Please contact us today with questions or to book an appointment!
This post was written by ChandlerDentalCenter