Dental plaque may not cause cancer, but it harbors and encourages something that does – this is the consistent finding of dozens of studies over the decades. Self-care, like daily brushing and flossing, are small measures we can take to prevent bigger issues than gum disease and tooth loss.
Combined with regular family dentist visits and teeth cleanings, these form a strong line of defense against cancer-causing bacteria forming and incubating in the mouth.
Brush Up Dental Plaque on the Latest Cancer Studies
Bacteria are important pathogens for biochemical properties, but in the biofilm, anaerobic bacteria are thought to cause the chronic infection periodontitis. A 2013 study by Rajesh and others found evidence of links between greater cancer development and inflammation and chronic infections.
- Christian Abnet and others reported in a 2008 study a two-fold increased risk in the formation of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
- In the 1999-2005 study conducted in the Roswell Park Cancer Institute at New York, results showed a 5.23-fold increase per millimeter of alveolar bone loss associated with risk of tongue cancer.
- The strongest association of fatal cancers linked with periodontal disease is lung cancer, according to a 2003 study by Hujoel and others.
Chemo and depression can make it hard for cancer patients to maintain regular teeth cleaning and checkups causing more risk for dental plaque.
With any illness or life-changing event, self-care easily can be neglected amid the pain, grief and fatigue of getting through it. Those fighting cancer of any kind are at higher risk from hosting known cancer-causing bacteria that thrive in plaque.
It would be tragic to lose the war on cancer by succumbing to battle fatigue that could let new cancers win.
Offer to take someone you know who is struggling to get to dental appointments for teeth cleaning and checkups. It is vitally important to use cleaning aids, raise the brush and fly the floss lest chemotherapy and depression give periodontal health a back seat on the road to survive cancer.
Brushing and flossing’s main jobs reap numerous rewards.
The refreshing feeling of a clean mouth and teeth are enough incentive for most of us to keep up our brushing and flossing for life, yet we find those few brush and floss minutes a sacrifice at times and we skimp on or skip out.
Besides the big-picture, prevention of dental plaque buildup and gum disease, think how sweeter cuddling with the kids or kissing the sweetheart are with just-brushed teeth. The world will thank us for contributing to cleaner air campaigns with fresh breath, if not cleaning up our sometimes colorful language-hello!
Prevention is a priceless pound of cure for cancer.
Issue a fun challenge to the family to be consistent. Give extra points for stalwart attitudes. Proudly fly those pearly whites like victory banners. Go all out with incentive charts, or keep it simple with bragging rights for each brush and floss.
In all the OORAH, flaunt awareness of the contributions brushing, flossing and regular dental care make in the fight against cancer.
With the efforts and funding spent researching cancer to find cures, here we have two simple, preventive measures we can take to guard ourselves in the ongoing battle against cancer.
Together you and your dentist form front lines of defense against tragic losses associated with many types of cancer caused by bacteria found in plaque. So, brush and floss, stick out your tongue and proudly sigh ah instead of uh between visits.
If you need a teeth cleaning, give our office a call. Dr. Shumway will answer your questions, examine you, and determine exactly what needs to be done to get you back to normal.