Unfortunately, 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. According to BreastCancer.org, in 2019, an estimated 268,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in the U.S., including 62,930 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer. 

While, thankfully, the incident rates of breast cancer have decreased since 2000, there are still hundreds of thousands of women who will be affected by the condition.

Your team at Heroes Dental would like to offer our support to the efforts being made during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is our desire to not only provide valuable information regarding breast cancer and oral hygiene, but also the quality dental care needed by those living with breast cancer and breast cancer survivors.

A Link Between Advanced Gum Disease & Increased Cancer Risk

In a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, and Tufts University School of Medicine and Cancer analyzed the data of 7,466 participants with comprehensive dental exams, then followed the group from the late 1990s until 2012. 

The researchers found a 24 percent increase in risk in the development of cancer among participants who were suffering from severe periodontitis.   

While poor dental hygiene and gum disease have been linked to heart disease, dementia, diabetes complications, and oral bone/tissue loss, more and more studies continue to arise that highlight the link between periodontitis (advanced gum disease) and cancer. 

While the mechanism and an exact link between gum disease and cancer remain unclear, individuals living with anything from gingivitis to periodontal disease should be cautious, especially women over the age of 40. 

Some of the most common signs of gum disease include: 

    • ◘ Gums that bleed during or after brushing
    • ◘ Red, swollen or tender gums
    • ◘ Receding gums
    • ◘ Loose teeth 
    • ◘ Persistent bad breath 
    • ◘ Sores in the mouth
    • ◘ Pus between gums and teeth

Breast Cancer Treatment Can Cause Oral Health Problems

The unfortunate truth is that about ⅓ of women being treated for breast cancer may develop oral health issues as a result of the medications or treatment they are undergoing. For instance, chemotherapy affects ALL cells, including healthy cells, which can lead to dry mouth, sore and inflamed tissues, bleeding gums, and other serious conditions that need to be closely monitored.

It is in your best interest to visit your dentist before beginning cancer therapy so that you can have a better understanding of how your oral health may be affected and also to better protect yourself. When undergoing therapy, you will want to keep up with your oral health as your immune system will be weakened, and dental infections can lead to bigger issues. 

Your physician, dentist, and oncologist should be able to create a regiment that best protects your oral health alongside your overall well-being. 

Reducing the Risk of Gum Disease

There is plenty that you can do to reduce their risk of developing gum disease simply by practicing good oral hygiene. The most crucial steps you can take to help prevent the development of gum disease include: 

  • Carefully brushing your teeth after meals (at least twice a day)
  • Flossing after meals (at least once a day)
  • Rinsing with mouthwash can help to reduce plaque
  • Avoiding cigarettes and smokeless tobacco
  • Limit alcohol use
  • Maintaining a healthy diet
  • Visiting the team at Heroes Dental

The best treatment for gum disease begins with preventative care. Our McAllen dental team is ready to give your mouth, teeth, and gums a comprehensive checkup and cleaning. Contact Heroes Dental today at (956) 803-0303 to schedule your appointment.   

Join Heroes Dental in honoring Breast Cancer Awareness Month and those affected by cancer.

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