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Periodontal disease and breast cancer

 Periodontal disease may be a risk factor for breast cancer.

Periodontal disease and breast cancer

The evidence is not yet strong and solid and needs to be confirmed with new studies. Still, there are already results suggesting that periodontal disease may be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. 

As with diseases such as diabetes, stroke, or high blood pressure, where new studies point to the systemic effect (on the whole organism) of some gum diseases (mainly periodontitis), findings are also gradually accumulating that point to a link between periodontal health and some types of cancer, such as oral, esophageal, head and neck or pancreatic cancer

Periodontal disease and breast cancer

That periodontal disease is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer in women past menopause, especially in those who are or have been smokers. The results have been published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention journal.
The researchers followed more than 73,000 postmenopausal women who had participated in an observational study and had not previously been found to have breast tumors. Of these, 26.1% had periodontal disease, the incidence of which varied whether or not the woman was a smoker. After an average follow-up time of 6.7 years, 2,124 women were diagnosed with breast cancer. And when they cross-checked the data, they saw that the risk was 14% higher among women with periodontal disease.

The study also shows that among women who had quit smoking in the last 20 years and had periodontal disease, the risk of these tumors was 36% higher, while in those who smoked at the time of the study, the risk was 32% higher if they had periodontal disease. However, the association was not statistically significant.

Periodontal diseases are characterized by chronic inflammation of the gums caused by oral bacteria, which destroys the tissues that surround and attach the teeth to the jaws. Therefore, the connection of gum diseases with widespread diseases could be related to the passage of bacteria into the blood and, above all, to the inflammation that occurs, which acts at the level of the whole organism due to the release of the so-called inflammatory mediators.

Other studies on Periodontal Disease and Breast Cancer

Other previous studies have also shown a relationship between breast cancer and periodontitis. Their results indicated that women who had lost molars due to periodontitis had approximately a 5% higher risk of having breast cancer. In any case, these are only isolated studies; therefore, it is necessary to continue studying these possible relationships

Women who have had breast cancer and are being treated with anti-estrogenic medication are more likely to have periodontitis, probably because of the osteoporosis associated with these drugs. It is therefore advisable that, in these cases, patients should have their gums checked and treated.