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New Research Links Periodontal Disease to Breast Cancer

Posted on February 17, 2011 | in Dental Care | by

As gum disease and oral systemic dentistry research continues, it seems we are learning more everyday about how gum disease and tooth loss can negatively impact not only our oral health and appearance, but our overall physical health as well. Recent news out of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden highlighted some seriously alarming links between gum disease and breast cancer.

The study, conducted on over three thousand patients, showed that out of the 41 people who developed breast cancer, those who had gum disease and tooth loss were 11 times more likely to develop cancer. We can now add breast cancer to the already widely accepted connections between periodontitis and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and low birth weight or even risk of fetal death.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study on the association between periodontitis and breast cancer,” Birgitta Söder, DrMedSc, PhD, Lic Odont Sc, RDH, a professor emeritus at Karolinska Institute, told (Erin Archer, R.N. contributing writer, November 18, 2010)

That is alarming, especially when we consider how preventable gum disease can be. Moms and soon to be expectant Moms need to pay attention, the old-wives tale of gain a child lose a tooth need not apply. We now know better. Did you know that estimates that over half the teens in America have some form of gum disease?

Sure there are always environmental and genetic factors in play, but in order for most of us to develop gum disease wouldn’t we need to be ignoring our teeth?

Is it possible to develop gum disease even if you brush twice daily, and floss on the regular?

What are some early signs of gum disease?

All good questions for us to ask next time we pay our dentist a visit, but we need to remember to do so. Most likely your dentist already tries to inform you of these important health concerns, whether through a monthly email newsletter or a chairside conversation. Sometimes we just need to pay better attention, and consider time with our dentist an invaluable opportunity to learn how taking better care of our teeth and gums, can significantly improve our health and wellness.  

Ask your dentist for more information on gum disease and oral systemic dentistry, and be sure to share the information you receive with friends and family.

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+Chris Barnard is Managing Editor of, a patient-centric Social Dental Network blog dedicated to enabling the digital dental health conversation - and the eradication of the cavity creeps.
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