Gum disease increases women's risk of breast cancer up to three times
Gum disease increases women's risk of breast cancer up to three times, research reveals.
This is thought to be due to the bacteria that causes inflammation in the mouth entering the circulation via the gums and going into breast tissue, which can result in cancer.
Speaking of the study's findings, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, said: 'Interestingly, this research shows that there is evidence to support the theory that gum disease can have a much larger impact on the health of our whole body.'
Severe gum disease, known as periodontitis, can affect the bones in people's jaws and cause teeth to fall out.
Previous research reveals up to 54 per cent of adults in the UK have gum disease to some extent.
How the research was carried out
Researchers from the University of Santa Maria in Brazil analysed 201 women visiting the department of gynecology at the study university's hospital between April 2013 and June 2015.
Of the study's participants, 67 had breast cancer.
The cases and controls were matched according to smoking status and alcohol intake.
All of the participants were assessed for gum inflammation at six sites per tooth.
Gum disease increases the risk of breast cancer by up to three times
Results reveal women with severe gum disease are up to three times more likely to have breast cancer.
There is no link between tooth loss and developing the disease.
Dr Carter said: 'Interestingly, this research shows that there is evidence to support the theory that gum disease can have a much larger impact on the health of our whole body.
'It suggests that severe gum disease is associated with instances of breast cancer and this may be through spread of infection and inflammation starting in the mouth.
'The research mentions that more research is required in order to identify the specific relationship, something we very much welcome.'
The findings were published in the journal of Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology.