Postmenopausal Women with Gum Disease Seem to Have Higher Breast Cancer Risk

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Research suggests that postmenopausal women with gum disease are more likely to develop breast cancer than postmenopausal women who don’t have gum disease. Why? Let’s discuss how we can fight gum disease reduce breast cancer risk.

If a woman has a history of smoking, the risk of breast cancer may be even higher

Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, can range from simple inflammation of the gums, called gingivitis, to periodontitis, when the gums pull away from the teeth leaving open spaces that become infected. The bacteria causing the infection and the body’s response to the infection can break down the bone and connective tissue that hold your teeth in place. If periodontitis isn’t treated, the teeth may become loose and must be removed.

Gum disease can be prevented by regular tooth brushing and flossing.

Gum disease has been associated with several other diseases, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Past research has found links between gum disease and oral, esophageal, head and neck, pancreatic, and lung cancer

So … are there any links between gum disease and breast cancer?

A study has found that postmenopausal women with gum disease were more likely to develop breast cancer than postmenopausal women who didn’t have gum disease.

If the women had a history of smoking, the risk of breast cancer was even higher.

The study was published online on Dec. 21, 2015 by the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Read the abstract of “Periodontal Disease and Breast Cancer: Prospective Cohort Study of Postmenopausal Women.” The research is part of the very large Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, commonly called the WHI. The WHI is looking for links between health, diet, lifestyle, and genetic factors and health problems, such as cancer.

In this study:

  • the researchers monitored 73,737 postmenopausal women in the WHI who had never been diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • About 26% of the women told the researchers they had gum disease.
  • After about 6.5 years, 2,124 women had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • Overall, the risk of breast cancer was 14% higher in women who had gum disease compared to women who didn’t have gum disease.
  • So, if average breast cancer risk is about 12%, a woman with gum disease had about a 13.5% risk of breast cancer.

“We thought that periodontal bacteria — either the bacteria themselves or the inflammation that’s part of having periodontal disease — has an effect on other parts of the body, including breast tissue. We know there are bacteria in breast tissue, and we know there are bacteria in mother’s milk. Women who had periodontal disease had a small increase in the risk of breast cancer overall,”

said Jo Freudenheim, Ph.D., distinguished professor of epidemiology and environmental health at the University of Buffalo and lead author of the study.

Does Smoking Have an Effect?

Because earlier studies have shown that the effects of gum disease can be more severe if a person smokes, the researchers also grouped the women by smoking history:

  • Among women who had quit smoking within the last 20 years, women with gum disease had a 36% higher risk of breast cancer than women who didn’t have gum disease.
  • Among women who had never smoked, women with gum disease had a 6% higher risk of breast cancer than women who didn’t have gum disease.
  • Among women who had quit smoking more than 20 years ago, women with gum disease had an 8% higher risk of breast cancer than women who didn’t have gum disease.

“There’s been an explosion of information recently that makes it clear that many different parts of the body that were thought to be sterile contain bacteria and other microbes,” Dr. Freudenheim said. “These bacteria may influence diseases that were previously thought to have no infectious component.”

Gum Disease and Breast Cancer

The researchers said there are several possible reasons for the association between gum disease and breast cancer:

Bacteria in the mouth can get into the bloodstream through tooth brushing, flossing, and chewing. Even though the bacteria are cleared out of the body quickly, the cumulative exposure to tissues can be considerable. It could be that these bacteria affect breast cancer.

Inflammation in one part of the body, such as the gums, may have an impact on other diseases.

Other Factors Increase the Risk

There may be other factors that increase the risk of both gum disease and breast cancer.

“This is a new area, so we have to be careful in how we interpret our findings,” said Dr. Freudenheim. “We can’t say, ‘if you treat periodontal disease it will reduce cancer risk.’ There are new methodologies that allow us to measure things we weren’t able to before. We are now beginning to understand how much the interaction of the microbiome affects our health both in terms of acute infections and chronic diseases.”

Decrease Your Risk for Breast Cancer

Now that you know we can fight gum disease reduce breast cancer risk. Doing all that you can do to keep your breast cancer risk as low as it can be makes good sense.

Here are steps you can take to control several risk factors:

  • exercising regularly
  • eating a healthy diet
  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • not smoking
  • avoiding alcohol
  • taking good care of your teeth and gums

Decrease Your Risk for Gum Disease

Decreasing your risk is important and now we know we can fight gum disease reduce breast cancer risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control, gum disease can be kept in check by:

  • Brushing and flossing your teeth every day to remove the bacteria that cause gum disease
  • Seeing a dentist at least once a year for a checkup, or more frequently if you have any of the warning signs of gum disease:
    • red/swollen gums
    • tender/bleeding gums
    • loose teeth
    • bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth that won’t go way
    • gums that have pulled away from your teeth
    • sensitive teeth

Learn more: Healthy Gums and Mouths Don’t Develop Gum Disease

Making a Difference One Dental Exam at a Time

Now you understand why keeping your gums healthy is such an important task – fight gum disease reduce breast cancer risk! AND you know what to do to help keep you and your smile in the best possible health and avoid Gum Disease. Why almost half of Americans suffer some form of gum disease, why wait??

Regular dental exams and cleaning is wonderful preventative care. Although you may be brushing and flossing really well at home, tartar and plaque is impossible to remove with regular brushing and flossing, and can build-up over time. Dentists are able to use specific tools to remove that plaque and tartar, keeping our mouth cleaner and our chances of other complications much lower.

At Premier Dental, we take your oral health seriously and want to help you avoid gum disease by checking your oral health and every scheduled cleaning. We are also happy to answer any gum disease questions you have. Take the time to be extra diligent in your normal oral health routine to reduce your risk for gum disease.

If you have questions or concerns about your gum health, please give us a call, Dr. Caye and his experienced team at Premier Dental in Lee’s Summit will be happy to schedule your dental appointment and help you keep your gums, teeth and mouth healthy. Please call our office at 816-600-6330 to schedule your dental appointment.

Dr. Stephan Caye and his friendly, experienced team at Premier Dental offer affordable family dentistry and invisible braces in the Lee’s Summit, MO area. Our office is conveniently located off of Highway 50 and SE Blue Parkway. We offer appointment times Monday through Friday to meet your needs. At Premier Dental, we provide most dental health services, from family and general dentistry to specialty procedures, including tooth replacement options, such as dental implants and dentures, endodontic or root canal treatment, teeth whitening, cosmetic dentistryemergency dental care and much more. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Please call us at (816) 600-6330 to schedule an appointment.

The information in this blog has been provided by Breastcancer.org. For more information on breast cancer risk and other steps you can take to minimize your risk, visit the Breastcancer.org Lower Your Risk section.

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USE It OR LOSE It!

We can help you maximize dental benefits! Did you know that your dental insurance plan will automatically reset on December 31 every year? That date is approaching quickly, so it’s time to start thinking about making the most of your dental benefits before time runs out. Call us today to get your end-of-the-year appointments scheduled and on the books for peace of mind, and to get the most out of the dental insurance you pay for.

Learn More about dental insurance from the American Dental Association: “Use it or Lose it”

Why Should I Make an Appointment?

This will vary from person to person, depending on what unique services you need to make your oral health 100 percent. Talk with your dentist to determine what services you need to stay healthy. More than likely, a routine dental exam and cleaning is an appointment almost everyone can make before the end of the year – this is a preventive care appointment.

Check over your insurance plan to learn if your insurance covers multiple cleanings every year. If so, make the most of your dental benefits by getting your cleaning in before the holiday-craziness begins and schedules tighten. Also, if you have questions for your dentist or you are curious about the status of your oral health, a routine check-up is the perfect way to learn about your teeth’s health and ask questions.

Appointment Types – Preventative and Elective Services

Appointments can often be categorized into two groupings – preventative and elective services.

Preventative Dentistry Services

Preventative dentistry is all about maintaining oral care and preventing oral health problems down the line. This often includes regular cleanings, regular oral exams, routine x-rays, and a oral cancer screening. Dental insurance plans often fully cover preventative care services and appointments. You can also help maintain your oral health at home by brushing twice a day and flossing once a day.

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Here are some tips to keep your oral hygiene healthy this Halloween.

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Dental Travel Tips 

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Stephen-Caye-DDS-Premier-DentalAt Premier Dental, our personalized touch is revolutionizing the dental experience and will have you forgetting why you were ever “fearful” of the dentist. Our laid-back atmosphere, gentle touch of Dr. Stephan D. Caye, and relaxing amenities will have you looking forward to your next visit.

Unique Approach to Every Single Patient

Dr. Caye doesn’t use a one-size-fits-all approach with his patients, instead he takes the time to work with each and every patient, one-on-one. Each patient needs a different and unique approach to their oral health. Almost all dental procedures can be done in-house at our location, which makes your appointments run smooth, with your best treatment options (made specially for you and your oral health) in mind.

Comprehensive Dentistry

We like offering comprehensive dentistry to our patients. What does that mean? At Premier Dental, you can receive preventive, cosmetic, and restorative treatments all in one location.

  • Preventive Dentistry Treatments often include dental cleanings twice a year and the main goal is to prevent any oral health issues from happening. It’s so important to see your dentist twice a year so they can assess your oral health and provide you with a professional cleaning.
  • Cosmetic Dentistry Treatments are all about enhancing the look and feel of your smile. These treatments are great confidence boosters, and often include our ClearCorrect braces, veneers, etc.
  • Restorative Dentistry Treatments often happen with your oral health needs restored or corrected. Maybe you chipped your tooth, lost a tooth, etc. and may require surgery. Dental crowns, root canals, and dentures are restorative treatments.

We use our advanced technology to provide our patients with state-of-the-art, high-quality care and our friendly staff is committed to providing premium dental care in a comfortable and convenient setting. We offer comprehensive dentistry at Premier Dental. No matter what you’re looking for, we can provide you with various options, ranging from cosmetic, restorative, and preventive. Let’s dive a little deeper…

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One-Stop Dental Shop

Why do you choose an all-inclusive resort when booking a vacation? It’s because they have it all and more. Everything you could possibly need is in one convenient location. But what do all-inclusive resorts and our dental office have in common? They’re both one-stop shops with everything you need!

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