New Study Finds Link between Dental Plaque and Early Cancer Death

November 1, 2013 by Dr. Emanuel Layliev Blog, Dental News

A new study found that the dental plaque that causes gum disease may result in premature death in cancer patients.

Conducted by a Swedish research team at the Karolinska Institute, the study found that a large amount of dental plaque is correlated to higher cancer mortality. The results, which will be published in the medical journal BMJ Open, found that oral bacteria can contribute to carcinogenesis. After examining all risk factors, researchers calculated that the presence of plaque could raise the risk of cancer death by an astonishing 79 percent!

Despite the data, researchers were careful to note that plaque and tooth decay on their own do not cause cancer. The increased risk of death in people with poor oral hygiene is the result of infection, which people with cancer are highly susceptible to because of their weakened immune systems.

When these infections are combined with cancer, patients simply do not have the strength to fight both at the same time. Furthermore, people with poor oral health tend to have worse overall health. This makes it much harder for them to survive painful, potentially-deadly treatment options like chemotherapy.

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