Your dentist in Austin has known for quite some time that there is a strong link between gum disease and other whole-body concerns, such as an increased risk for heart disease and stroke. But recent research by the American Academy for Cancer Research has also shown a connection between gum disease and the development of colon cancer. During this Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, we want to share the findings so our patients can do everything possible to protect themselves from gum disease and the potential negative side effects.
This new long-term study followed the health of 42,486 Americans, both men, and women, for several decades. The goal was to monitor the health, diet, and results of colonoscopies to determine if there was any possible link between gum disease and colon cancer. While the results did support the theory, researchers say more studies are needed to back up these findings.
Scientists were interested in looking at two particular types of intestinal lesions that often precede colon cancer — serrated polyps and conventional adenomas — as well as participants’ history of gum disease. They found that those patients who had a history of gum also had:
- A 17% increased risk of having a serrated polyp
- An 11% increased risk of having a conventional adenoma
- A 20% increased risk of having a serrated polyp if the participant had lost four or more teeth
6 Signs of Gum Disease
Gum disease can present itself in a number of ways, but there are some signs that are more common such as:
Bad breath that doesn’t go away
Red, swollen gums
Gums that bleed
Pain when chewing
If you recognize any of these signs of gum disease, call your dentist in Austin to schedule an appointment as soon as you can. When gum disease is caught in its earliest stages it can often be treated successfully. However, when gum disease becomes more serious, it can become irreversible.
Reduce Your Risk of Gum Disease
It’s important to remember that uncontrollable factors such as age and genetics can increase someone’s chances of getting gum disease. But there are also habits and lifestyle factors that we can control that can also increase the risk. Following these tips from your dentist in Austin can reduce the likelihood of developing gum disease:
- Follow a proper oral hygiene routine of brushing twice a day and flossing once a day
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Stop using tobacco products
- Keep seeing your dentist for bi-annual checkups and cleanings
Gum disease isn’t something to take lightly, and it’s crucial to monitor any changes that occur in the mouth to catch problems before they have a chance to become bigger concerns and cause health problems. If you notice any of the signs of gum disease or it’s been longer than six months since your last visit, schedule a dental appointment today.