What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease or periodontal disease or periodontitis, whatever you call it, can lead to tooth loss and many other complications and cancers. There are various types of gum disease, so it’s important to know and understand the difference.
Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease. The gums become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, there isn’t much discomfort and no pain. If you have diabetes, if you smoke or have a bad diet, know that those are factors that can contribute to this gum disease.
Periodontitis is basically untreated gingivitis. When plaque spreads and grows below the gum line, you have this more advanced gum disease. Dr. Gatgens explains that it’s the bacteria that produce toxins and that’s what irritates your gums. Periodontitis itself has many different stages from aggressive to chronic and of course, related to systemic disease like cancer.
The Link Between Gum Disease & Cancer
According to American Academy of Periodontology researchers found that men with gum disease were 49% more likely to develop kidney cancer, 54% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer and 30% more likely to develop blood cancer.
The exact cause of the link between gum disease and cancer is still being investigated with many ongoing studies. However, current research shows that it’s the inflammation and the oral biofilm that have the most direct impact.
The oral biofilm is a community of billions of bacteria in the mouth which protects and supports the body’s ability to live. So when it’s not in balance, the oral biofilm produces pathogens and in turn, these affect your immune system. The pathogens, which is just another way to say bad bacteria, can also get into your blood.