Stages of periodontal disease photo credit
If having nice breath and a white smile was your only motivation for brushing and flossing your teeth, this new study may add an entirely new incentive for you to take care of your teeth.
Earlier this month, the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) announced the results of their recent study, which found that individuals with gum disease may also have an increased risk of lung cancer. Out of the 321,420 participants in the study, those who had periodontal disease (also known as gum disease or an advanced form of gingivitis) had a much higher risk of developing lung cancer. They also found that women with periodontal disease are more likely than males to develop lung cancer as well.
How likely am I to get periodontal/gum disease?
Surprisingly enough, periodontal disease affects on average one out of every two Americans over the age of 30 and is more than two times more prevalent than diabetes. It is caused by an inflammatory reaction to a bacterial infection in the gums and can lead to redness, swelling, irritation, receding gums, and tooth loss if left untreated.
What does this mean for me?
Maintaining oral health is now more important than ever. The American Cancer Society has stated that more people die from lung cancer than from any other form of cancers combined. If gum disease could be linked to lung cancer, it is very important to be diligent in your brushing and flossing routine.
The AAP has stated that, “While additional research is needed on the possible links between lung cancer and periodontal disease, we know for sure that taking care of your teeth and gums can reduce periodontal disease risk and possibly the risk of other systematic conditions.”
Recommit yourself to maintaining better oral health.
Regular flossing and brushing twice a day can help prevent periodontal disease. An annual periodontal screening can also catch periodontal disease early. It is treatable and reversible if taken care of properly and in a timely manner.