Mouth cancer linked to gum disease
Research has shown that people with gum disease are more than 2 and a half times more likely to get a head and neck cancer. Also people who lose 6 or more teeth are at least 60% more likely to suffer from a head and neck cancer, the risk increasing with every tooth lost.
The main factors causing mouth cancer are smoking and tobacco, other ones being sunlight and the Human Papilloma Virus. This last causal agent is more common in younger people in whom the rates are increasing.
What can we do to help ourselves?
Stop smoking and reduce your alcohol.
Eating lots of fruit and vegetables reduces your risk by up to half.
Recreational exercise reduces the risk by 26-47%- highest effect in males under 45.
A nugget for those coffee drinkers-caffeinated coffee reduces the risk by 4% for 1 cup and 39% in people who drink more than four cups a day.
What can dentists do to help our patients?
Screen all our patients regularly and encourage patients to have any changes checked. Early diagnosis dramatically increases survival.