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Periodontal Disease is Linked to Breast Cancer

Periodontal Treatment Can Beat Breast Cancer  

Thanks to years of effort by breast cancer advocates, October reminds us of how many women ( 1 in 8) will develop breast cancer, and how we can help reduce those numbers.  Thanks to National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we know more about this disease and have seen amazing developments in detection, prevention and patient care that save more lives every year.  And I know that I, as a periodontist, can actively fight breast cancer by treating or preventing gum disease. 

Gum Disease is Linked to an Increased Chance of Breast Cancer

Yes, bleeding and swollen gums may affect breast health. In the past five years, several studies have concluded that gum disease, or periodontal disease, is associated with a higher risk of developing breast cancer.  

A study of more than 3,000 women, published in the Journal of Breast Cancer Treatment and Research, showed that women with periodontal disease and/or missing teeth were 11 times more likely  to be diagnosed with breast cancer than women with good oral health.  

A study at the University of Buffalo found that postmenopausal women with periodontal disease had a 14% higher risk of breast cancer. If these women were smokers or former smokers, the risk rose to 36%. 

How Does Periodontal Disease Impact Breast Cancer?

 We don’t know exactly why women with periodontal disease are at a greater risk for breast cancer, only that they are.  The most likely connection are bacteria, infection and inflammation found in affected gum tissue. All of these can spread throughout the body.  In fact, microorganisms found in the mouth have been found in breast tumors.  

Researchers are certain that the spread of Infection and inflammation can change how a cell grows and could contribute to how quickly cancer develops and spreads.  

My Role in Fighting Breast Cancer

As a healthcare provider, I am invested in your overall well-being.  As a board-certified periodontist, I’m best qualified to detect oral infection and inflammation that could potentially affect breast health and may not be obvious to a patient.

If our comprehensive periodontal examination finds gum disease, we’ll create a treatment plan to clean away bacteria and infection around your teeth and below your gum line; reduce inflammation; and reduce the chances of periodontal disease recurring.

Half of all American adults have periodontal disease and many are unaware. Making the correct diagnosis and getting treatment has become even more crucial as we see how it can effect overall health. 

Periodontal Treatment for Breast Cancer Patients

Both chemotherapy and radiation therapy can cause side effects for your mouth. including gums that are sore and may bleed.  It is recommended that you see a dental professional for an examination one month before starting cancer treatment.  Taking care of gum disease before beginning treatment reduces the likelihood of severe gum issues during treatment.   Should you have any gum issues during your cancer treatment, you can call me with questions.  I will work with your oncologist to determine the best course of action for your health and comfort.  

Here at Holmdel Periodontics & Implant Dentistry we’re doing our part to support  women battling breast cancer,  doctors providing treatment, and researchers looking for cures.  Help us help you.  Schedule a periodontal exam.

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