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Periodontitis, Inflammation and Cancer

According to an article published in the Archives of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, chronic periodontitis is associated with an increased risk of developing cancer of the tongue among men. 

Researchers at the University at Buffalo and Roswell Park Cancer Institute have found the same thing. Another recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute linked periodontal disease to pancreatic cancer as well. “Our study provides the first strong evidence that periodontal disease may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer,” said Dr Dominique Michaud of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, who led the research. Men with a history of periodontal disease had a 64 per cent increased risk of pancreatic cancer than men with no such history.


Inflammatory reactions in the body are a valuable predictor of impending heart attack. Dr. Robert Genko, editor of the American Academy of Periodontal Journal, claims that persons with gingival disease (which is an inflammatory disorder) are 27 times more likely to suffer a heart attack than are persons with healthy gums. An American Heart Association paper disclosed that 85% of heart attack victims had gum disease compared to 29% of healthy similar patients.


And increased severity of periodontitis, for example with recent tooth loss, had the greatest risk. People with periodontal disease have an increased level of inflammatory markers such as C reactive protein (CRP) in their blood. These markers are part of an early immune system response to persistent inflammation and have been linked to the development of pancreatic cancer. It is the high levels of carcinogenic compounds (especially mercury) that are present in the mouths of people with periodontal disease that increases risk of pancreatic cancer.