Study: Periodontal Disease Linked To Gallbladder Cancer Risk In Women

Postmenopausal women who have a history of gum disease also have a higher risk of cancer, according to a new study of more than 65,000 women.

The study, led by researchers at the University at Buffalo, is the first national study of its kind involving U.S. women, and the first to focus specifically on older women. It’s also the first study to find an association between periodontal disease and gallbladder cancer risk in women or men. The findings were published August 1st in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

“This study is the first national study focused on women, particularly older women,” said Jean Wactawski-Wende, the study’s senior author.

“Our study was sufficiently large and detailed enough to examine not just overall risk of cancer among older women with periodontal disease, but also to provide useful information on a number of cancer-specific sites,” added Wactawski-Wende, dean of UB’s School of Public Health and Health Professions and a professor of epidemiology and environmental health.

Gum Disease Study
The study included 65,869 postmenopausal women enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative, an ongoing national prospective study designed to investigate factors affecting disease and death risk in older American women. The average age of the participants was 68, and most were non-Hispanic white women.

As part of a follow-up health questionnaire, participants were asked, “Has a dentist or dental hygienist ever told you that you had periodontal or gum disease?” Women who reported a history of gum disease had a 14 percent increased risk of overall cancer. Of the 7,149 cancers that occurred in the study participants, the majority – 2,416 – were breast cancer.

“There is increasing evidence that periodontal disease may be linked to an increased cancer risk and this association warrants further investigation,” said the paper’s first author, Ngozi Nwizu, who worked on the research while completing her residency in oral and maxillofacial pathology in UB’s School of Dental Medicine and her doctorate in pathology (cancer epidemiology) at UB’s Roswell Park Cancer Institute Graduate Division. Nwizu is now an assistant professor of oral and maxillofacial pathology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

The risk associated with periodontal disease was highest for esophageal cancer, the researchers reported. “The esophagus is in close proximity to the oral cavity, and so periodontal pathogens may more easily gain access to and infect the esophageal mucosa and promote cancer risk at that site,” Wactawski-Wende said.

Gallbladder cancer risk also was high in women who reported a history of gum disease. “Chronic inflammation has also been implicated in gallbladder cancer, but there has been no data on the association between periodontal disease and gallbladder risk. Ours is the first study to report on such an association,” Nwizu said.

The esophageal and gallbladder cancer findings are significant, Nwizu said. “Esophageal cancer ranks among the most deadly cancers and its etiology is not well known, but chronic inflammation has been implicated,” she said.

Periodontal Bacteria

“Certain periodontal bacteria have been shown to promote inflammation even in tiny amounts, and these bacteria have been isolated from many organ systems and some cancers including esophageal cancers,” Nwizu continued. “It is important to establish if periodontal disease is an important risk of esophageal cancer, so that appropriate preventive measures can be promoted.”

Periodontal disease also was associated with total cancer risk among former and current smokers. The findings for this particular age group are significant because they offer a window into disease in a population of Americans that continues to increase as people live longer lives.

“The elderly are more disproportionately affected by periodontal disease than other age groups, and for most types of cancers, the process of carcinogenesis usually occurs over many years,” said Nwizu. “So the adverse effects of periodontal disease are more likely to be seen among postmenopausal women, simply because of their older age.”


The Link Between Periodontal And Cerebrovascular Diseases

female doctor with jaw xray
female doctor with jaw xray

A new study has revealed a relationship between chronic periodontitis and lacunar infarct – two common diseases in the elderly. Chronic periodontitis is an inflammatory disease of the gums, whereas lacunar infarct is a type of cerebral small vessel disease that can lead to a stroke.

Additional research is needed to understand this link. It is hypothesized that periodontitis leads to systemic inflammation and, as a result, the health of the blood vessels could be affected. On the other hand, chronic periodontitis and lacunar infarct may share common vascular risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

“We observed that people diagnosed with periodontal disease had about a 4-fold increased risk of developing lacunar stroke compared with those without periodontitis. If further prospective cohort studies confirm our findings, interventional studies should be performed to assess the potential benefit of periodontal therapy in patients with lacunar stroke and periodontitis,” said Dr. Yago Leira, lead author of the European Journal of Neurology study. “Periodontal treatment may also decrease systemic inflammation and, therefore, it may reduce the risk of developing lacunar infarct,” Leira added.

Loose Teeth: What Causes Them?

tooth x-ray in the hand
tooth x-ray in the hand

While we can all agree that oral health care is incredibly important, some do not take it as seriously as they should until it is too late. Additionally, there is a myriad of different ways that our mouths can suffer from lack of proper care and dental hygiene. But not all mouth issues stem from lack of proper oral care. Oddly enough, the ways in which we can suffer, and the subsequent ailments we may incur, span quite a few different areas. When loss of teeth occurs as the result of something other than an accident, it could have potentially been prevented by detailed oral care, or can be a result of something else entirely.

Those who are suffering from loose teeth may have ignored prior signs that they have a gum condition, which is caused by bacterial biofilm, called periodontal disease. This causes inflammation in the gums and destroys all supporting structures of the teeth, more specifically the bone. The accumulation of plague that must occur for this to take place is plentiful. Little bits of plaque will not likely cause such an issue.

Other Causes

Pregnancy can also cause loose teeth. This is because the high levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone can often cause the bones around the teeth to loosen, which can cause tooth mobility. It is imperative that once any sign of loose teeth is noticed, a dentist is contacted immediately. Quick reaction can be the difference between losing a tooth, or multiple teeth, completely. Don’t take that chance.

Another case of loose teeth, that is not directly tied to poor hygiene, is osteoporosis. This is a condition that affects both women and men. It causes the weakening of the bones which can lead to fractures and other problems. It is said that women who suffer from osteoporosis are more than three times more prone to losing teeth from the condition than those who are not. Though the treatment of osteoporosis is fairly common, it is important to inform your dentist if you are taking any medication for the condition.

As mentioned above, sometimes loose teeth can be caused by some sort of accident or traumatic force to the mouth. This can also happen if you grind your teeth significantly, or if you are known to clench your jaw. While teeth are incredibly strong and durable, consider any type of injury to your mouth a reason to see the dentist immediately.

Tooth loss is very serious and, while we’d all like to think that we have good habits when it comes to cleaning and tending to our mouths, sometimes our oral care regimen isn’t the only thing that will impact the longevity of our pearly whites. Whether it’s gum disease, pregnancy or osteoporosis, making sure you know exactly what is going on with your teeth is vital. At the first sign of a wiggling or loose tooth, it is imperative that your first order of business is visiting your dentist to confirm the options you have.

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National Dental Hygiene Month

October is National Dental Hygiene Month, and we at THP would like to take a few moments to remind or inform you of how to keep your mouth in mint condition with good oral hygeine and OraMD.

It’s estimated that 75% of Americans have some form of periodontal disease, and unhealthy conditions in the mouth like that can often be attributed to poor oral hygiene. These same conditions can also generally be corrected, or prevented in the first place by adopting good oral hygiene practices. This includes brushing, flossing, gargling, and in cases of bad breath or halitosis, many turn to mints or gum to mask odor. However, many of the over-the-counter products that are advertised to help improve these conditions actually contain ingredients that contribute to poor oral health.

OraMD contains ingredients that are 100% all natural, and proven to be anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal and can replace all of the chemical laden products you might normally use, including toothpaste, mouthwash, and even mints or gum.

To use as toothpaste, put 2-5 drops of OraMD on your toothbrush and brush as normal. Flossing is an important part of good oral hygiene, as it removes food particles and plaque from the spaces between teeth that your brush will not reach. Some people prefer to use an oral irrigator in place of floss to clean between teeth with pressurized water. OraMD can be added to the water used for irrigation for an enhanced anti-bacterial effect, but it is important to remember that OraMD can sometimes damage cheaper plastic components. To avoid this, flush your irrigator immediately after use with medium-to-hot water for 20-30 seconds. OraMD can be used as a mouth rinse simply by diluting 2-5 drops in an ounce of water and gargling. You can also apply a few drops directly onto the tongue to coat the mouth and remove the cause of bad breath.

Periodontal Disease Linked To Rheumatoid Arthritis

A recent study performed at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH shows a link between gum/periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis. The study found that when arthritis sufferers treated their periodontal condtitions that their arthritis related symptoms diminished. This makes sense as both are inflammatory diseases, and further goes to show that improved oral health can lead to better overall health. With that being said, don’t forget to stock up on OraMD for your oral health or Daily Effects for helping to ease those daily aches and pains.