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Colorectal Cancer Linked to Gum Disease

  • Category: Gastroenterology
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Baton Rouge General
Colorectal Cancer Linked to Gum Disease

There is a strong connection between oral health and the risk of cancer, and a recent study finds that people with a history of gum disease and tooth loss have a 50% greater risk of developing colon cancer, the third most common cancer in the U.S. The most severe form of gum disease, periodontitis is the most severe form of gum disease and is the result of infections and inflammation of the gums and bone that surround and support the teeth. A recent CDC report shows that 47% of adults over 30 years of age have some form of periodontal disease, and 70% of those 65 years and older have the disease.

Severe inflammation caused by periodontal disease leads to a break down in the immune system and disrupts the gut microbiomes that help to break down food and toxins. Inflammation is one of the main factors contributing to colon cancer development, followed by bacterial growth in the mouth and gums. When bacteria stays on the teeth and gums over a period of time, this bacteria forms a film called plaque. Plaque eventually hardens to tartar that can spread below the gum line making teeth harder to clean. At this point, a dental professional with special tools must remove the tartar to stop the disease from progressing.

Symptoms of periodontal disease are:

  • Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Pain while chewing
  • Loose or sensitive teeth
  • Gums that have pulled away for the teeth

Good oral health is important to ensuring your overall general health. Speak to your doctor about concerns or symptoms of gum disease. If you are 45 or older, schedule your colon cancer screening today.