Good oral hygiene does not just keep you from getting cavities and gum disease. The health of the mouth is actually related to the health of the rest of the body. A recently published study in the Annals of Oncology journal found that proper oral hygiene was linked to a lower risk of head and neck cancer.
A team of researchers lead by Dr. Dana Hashim examined over 20,000 case reports of subjects in Europe, Japan, North America, and South America. The researchers compared data from 9,000 cancer patients to 12,000 cancer-free patients. In the study, the oral hygiene of each patient was assessed by the amount of teeth they had, the health of their gums, their brushing habits, their visits to dentist, and whether or not they wore dentures.
It was discovered that people with over five missing teeth or gum disease who did not brush their teeth daily or visit the dentist annually were more likely to get cancer in their head or neck. The risk of getting cancer was the same for both denture wearers and people without dentures who were in similar health, so wearing dentures was not linked to cancer. This study has been praised as the "largest and most comprehensive epidemiologic study to link poor oral hygiene to head and neck cancers."
There are a few theories for why head and neck cancer is so closely related to bad oral hygiene. Drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco greatly increases cancer risk, and these behaviors are more common among people with bad oral hygiene. Oral bacteria can increase inflammation that may encourage healthy cells to mutate into cancerous ones. Therefore, gum disease and cavities that result from poor hygiene may be the reason that cancer rates are increased.
Since good hygiene only takes a few minutes each day, this may be one of the easiest ways to lower your risks of cancer. Dentures do not increase cancer risks, but they do make oral hygiene slightly more complicated. For more information about proper denture maintenance and any other denture needs, contact
Canadian Denture & Implant Centres today.
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