Gum Disease & Cancer: A Dangerous Duo

Although you’ll be spending much of today looking over your shoulder for any practical jokes, today is also a serious occasion: It’s the kick-off to Oral Cancer Awareness Month.

Each year, oral cancer affects tens of thousands of people. The American Cancer Society estimates that, by the end of this year, 48,330 new oral cancer diagnoses will be made by American doctors. Of those new diagnoses, over 9,000 of them will result in the death of the patient.

While we will get into the major causes of oral cancer in our next post, there is one factor which scientific researchers believe can contribute to various head, neck, and oral cancers, and I want to discuss it with you today.

But first, let’s talk about your gums.

 

The Importance of Periodontal Health

You might think it’s strange that there is a link between your fleshy pink gums and something as deadly as cancer. And you’d technically be right, because it’s not actually your gums which scientists are focusing on, but the bacteria which can infect them.

Simply put, failing to brush and floss everyday will create a breeding ground for the type of bacteria which directly cause gum disease. A growing body of scientific literature now suggests that people with advanced periodontitis – or advanced gum disease – are at a much greater risk for developing types of head and neck cancers.

Of course, logic should tell us this may be true in part because people who have advanced gum disease are also likely to have poor oral hygiene, smoke cigarettes, and drink alcohol in excess – all of which are factors for the development of oral cancer.

Other studies point to a direct link between gum disease bacteria, known as spriochetes, and oral cancer itself. Although more research is needed to definitively answer the question, scientists believe that there is a strong connection between the bone loss which occurs in advanced gum disease and the development of oral cancers.

So it should be clear to you by now that the worse shape your gums are in, the more at risk you are for developing a deadly case of oral cancer.

If you haven’t been brushing and flossing daily, and it’s been over a year since your last visit with your Kennewick dentist, then your your mouth could already be home to a flourishing colony of spirochete bacteria.

When that happens, you will need a non-surgical periodontal disease treatment right away, or else you could be looking at the following symptoms:

 

  • Gums that bleed easily during and after brushing
  • Recessed “pockets” of gum tissue, making your teeth look longer
  • Dark red coloration in your gums
  • Pain in your teeth, including increased sensitivity to temperature
  • Loose, shifting teeth

 

My treatment method is non-invasive, and avoids the use of scalpels altogether, so you won’t have to worry about “going under the knife” in order to deal with your gum disease.

Instead, I use a periodontal laser which is finely tuned to only treat infected tissues, leaving healthy parts of your gums untouched. This not only makes the treatment much less painful than the traditional technique, but it also drastically reduces your recovery time.

By seeking and obtaining this treatment from a dentist in Washington, you’re ensuring that your smile stays healthy in more ways than one!

Since advanced gum disease is often accompanied by discolored, worn-down teeth, it’s a good idea to enhance your smile with one of several quick yet effective cosmetic dentistry services, such as a composite veneer treatment. Often, after a patient treats his or her smile to deal with a destructive illness or injury, it can leave you smile “less than” what it used to be. A cosmetic dentistry procedure following a non-surgical gum disease treatment is a fantastic way to recapture lost vibrance in the appearance of your smile.

 

Back To The Task At Hand

By the end of this year, 9,000 people will die as a result of an oral cancer diagnosis.

And far more often than not, the reason why they lost their battle with cancer is because they waited too late to get a diagnosis; at that point, the cancer has usually spread to the lymph nodes and beyond, which greatly diminishes your chances of survival, even if you seek treatment.

I want you to make the right decision, and contact me about doing something about your gum disease before the price you pay is more than just lost teeth.

I can be reached at 509-591-0515, or you may request an appointment with us online by filling out a simple web form.

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