OK…one more thing to think about that may increase your risk for cancer. Periodontal disease! When was your last dental appt? If you look at it as a preventative screening for cancer, you may decide to go more often or at the recommended twice per year.
The Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study examined rates of cancer in >65,000 women (average age, 68 and 85% white) who were asked about periodontal disease at baseline and followed for a mean of 8 years. Statistically significant excess risks were noted for cancer of the breast (13%), lung (31%), esophagus (>200%), gallbladder (73%) and for melanoma (23%). Results were similar regardless of smoking status.
Some studies have shown the bacteria associated with periodontitis in tumors and distal tissues such as lymph nodes, especially the high excess risk of esophageal cancer, is consistent with tracking these periodontal pathogens found in the gut.
Periodontal disease is also indicative of a pro-inflammatory state that may contribute to adverse reproductive outcomes in women such as preterm labor. Whether treating periodontal disease will lower the increased risk for malignancy is unknown. Flossing and using a water pick after brushing can’t hurt, as well as a check up at least once a year.
Reference: Nwizu NN et al. Periodontal disease and incident cancer risk among postmenopausal women: Results from the Women’s Health Initiative observational cohort. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2017 Aug. 26:1255.