A research published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention revealed that postmenopausal women with periodontal disease may probably develop breast cancer. Women with a history of smoking are at higher risk of developing breast cancer.
Periodontal disease is a condition that includes simple gum infection to a serious disease resulting in severe damage to the soft tissue and bone supporting the teeth and sometimes leads to loss of teeth.
Periodontal disease may develop heart disease, stroke, diabetes, oral, head and neck, pancreatic, esophageal and lung cancers. Earlier studies have shown that chronic inflammation could provide the link.
Genetic predisposition, smoking and hormonal changes in women are some of the risk factors of periodontal disease. People who are unable to fight infection due to various conditions such as diabetes or cancer can also develop the condition. Medications that restrict the flow of saliva can leave the mouth vulnerable to infections. However, regular brushing, flossing and cleaning can prevent the condition.
Researchers led by Jo L. Freudenheim, PhD, checked if there is any relationship with breast cancer. The team has considered 73,737 postmenopausal women who were enrolled in the women’s health Initiative Observational Study. None of the women had breast cancer but 26.1% of women had periodontal disease.
Earlier studies have noted that smoking leads to periodontal disease, hence the researchers took smoking into account. After 6.7 years, 2,124 women were diagnosed with breast cancer. The researchers found that among all women, people who had periodontal disease had increased their breast cancer risk by 14%.
Reportedly, women who were smoking at the time of the study had 32% risk of breast cancer given that they had periodontal disease. Those who had never smoked had increased their risk by 6% while those who had quit smoking over 20 years ago had increased risk by 8% provided if they had periodontal disease.
Freudenheim stated that the bacteria in the mouth of smokers are different from those that are in the mouth of non-smokers. The link between periodontal disease and breast cancer is that bacteria enter the body’s circulations and affects breast tissue. However, further studies are required to establish a causal link.