Tags: dental | cancer | die | plaque | death

Poor Dental Hygiene Poses Risks

Wednesday, 13 June 2012 12:59 PM

Avoiding the dentist out of fear? Here’s something new to scare you that just might push you to schedule a dental appointment: A new Swedish study has linked poor oral hygiene and persistent dental plaque to a significantly greater risk of dying early from cancer.
The study, published in the British Medical Journal, found dental plaque was associated with a whopping 80 percent increased risk of premature death.
“Based on the present findings, the high bacterial load on tooth surfaces and in gingival [gums] pockets over a prolonged time may indeed play a role in carcinogenesis,” said the researchers with the Karolinska Institute and the University of Helsinki. “Our study hypothesis was confirmed by the finding that poor [mouth] hygiene, as reflected was associated with increased cancer mortality.”
They added: "Further studies are required to determine whether there is any causal element in the observed association."

Dental plaque is comprised of bacteria, which covers the surfaces of the teeth, including the gaps between the teeth and gums. It leads to tooth decay and gum inflammation and, untreated, can cause tooth loss.
The Swedish researchers sought to determine if it might be increase cancer death risk as a result of infection and inflammation, both of which are thought to have a role in the disease.
For the study, they tracked almost 1,400 Swedes – in their 30s and 40s -- for 24 years. All were surveyed about factors likely to increase their cancer risk, such as smoking and levels of affluence. Their oral hygiene was also assessed for levels of dental plaque, tartar, gum disease, and tooth loss.
By the end of the study, in 2009, 58 people had died of cancer, a third of them women. Dental plaque in those who had died was higher than those who had survived, the researchers found.
The average age of death was 61 for the women and 60 for the men. The women would have been expected to live 13 years longer, and the men an additional 8.5 years, so their deaths could be considered premature, the investigators concluded.

© HealthDay

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Persistent dental plaque is linked to a significantly greater risk of dying early from cancer.
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 12:59 PM
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