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Gum disease: Dentist explains how you can prevent it

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It is not always clear why cancerous cells divide and multiply in the body. However, increasing evidence is drawing a link between poor lifestyle decisions and a higher risk of cancer. Some are well known: smoking and eating processed meat are incontrovertible by now.

One that may raise a few eyebrows is flouting oral hygiene.

A worrying finding published late last year tied gum disease to a significantly higher risk of two cancers.

Gum disease is a very common condition where the gums become swollen, sore or infected.

Gum disease can be caused by a number of factors, but a plaque build-up on your teeth from a lack of brushing is a primary cause.

The study from Harvard, voltaren sr 75 mg uses which was summarised in a letter by the journal Gut, suggests that the microbes camping out between your teeth and gums may affect your risk for cancers of the stomach and oesophagus.

Harvard scientists analysed health data from two large studies that included almost 150,000 men and women.

In up to 28 years of follow-up, people with a history of periodontal (gum) disease were 43 percent more likely to develop oesophageal cancer and 52 percent more likely to develop gastric (stomach) cancer compared with people whose gums were healthier.

The risk was even higher in those with gum disease severe enough to cause tooth loss.

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 The study is observational and doesn’t prove that gum disease causes cancer, but it could mean that someday doctors will include a look at your gum health when assessing your overall risk.

Fortunately, it’s easy to prevent gum disease.

The American Dental Association recommends that you brush your teeth twice per day, floss at least once per day, and get a dental exam and cleaning regularly.

As well as poor oral hygiene, a number of things can increase your risk of developing problems with your gums.

These include:

  • Smoking
  • Your age – gum disease becomes more common as you get older
  • Diabetes – a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar levels to become too high
  • Pregnancy – hormonal changes can make gums more vulnerable to plaque
  • A weakened immune system – for example, because of conditions like HIV and AIDS or certain Treatments, such as chemotherapy
  • Malnutrition – a condition that occurs when a person’s diet does not contain the right amount of Nutrients
  • Stress.

What are the symptoms of gum disease?

Gum disease is not always painful and you may be unaware you have it.

According to the NHS, The initial symptoms of gum disease can include:

  • Red and swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums after brushing or flossing your teeth.

“This stage of gum disease is called gingivitis.”

The health body continues: “If gingivitis is untreated, the tissues and bone that support the teeth can also become affected.”

Symptoms of periodontitis can include:

  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • An unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • Loose teeth that can make eating difficult
  • Collections of pus that develop under your gums or teeth (gum abscesses).

Further treatment

If you have severe gum disease, you may need further treatment, such as periodontal surgery.

“Your dentist will be able to tell you about the procedure needed and how it’s carried out. If necessary, they can refer you to a specialist,” explains the NHS.

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