Link Between Good Oral Health and Decreased Cancer Risk

Link Between Good Oral Health and Decreased Cancer Risk


As if there is not enough evidence already pointing to the overall health benefits of healthy teeth and gums, new research links an individual’s predominance of dental plaque to cancer.  That is right, good oral health care is now believed to decrease the risk of cancer and consequently, the risk of a premature death. 

Researchers in Stockholm, Sweden conducted this study over the course of 24 years.    Researchers tracked a group of 1,400 healthy adults starting around the ages of 30 to 40. Out of this group, 58 adults died prematurely of cancer.   Coincidentally, those who died of the cancer also had more dental plaque on their teeth and gums than those other adults who did not die prematurely.  Scientists determined that dental plaque increased an otherwise healthy adult’s risk for premature death due to cancer by 79%.

What is it about plaque that can be so harmful and potentially deadly to the human body?  According to Medical News Today, dental plaque is caused by “colonizing bacteria that attach to the surface of teeth and gums, leading to tooth decay and inflammation of the gum.” Many medical experts believe that the human body’s response to plaque can be systemic inflammatory in nature.  Based on this study’s findings, this systemic inflammatory response caused by plaque was speculated to result in cancer. 

So, what does this mean for you?  Study after study indicates that you must take care of your oral health in order to promote a healthy long life.  Your good oral hygiene can reduce your risk for not only a loss of teeth, but also other systemic health problems.  So, take care of your oral health now because you will be thankful that you did, especially in the long run.

“Dental Plaque Increases Cancer Death Rate.”  Medical News Today. 15 June 2012: n. pag. Web

Soder, Brigetta, PhD. “Dental Plaque and Cancer.” Bottom Line/ Health. Volume 26, Number 9. September 2012: page 1. Print.