Who may be affected?
Older women who have had periodontal disease. In its mildest form, called gingivitis, plaque buildup along the gumline causes the gums to become inflamed and bleed. Consistent oral-health care — daily brushing and flossing and periodic cleanings by a dentist or dental hygienist — usually can reverse the condition and prevent future problems. However, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, with more-severe infection and damage to the bone and tissue that hold teeth in place, sometimes requiring the removal of teeth.
What the study found was an association between periodontal disease and cancer; it did not prove that gum disease causes cancer. The findings might not apply to men. Most participants were white. Data on the women's dental history came from their responses on questionnaires. One of the nine authors of the study had received a grant and speaking and consulting fees from companies that produce oral-health products.
Find this study
August issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention (cebp.aacrjournals.org; click on "From the Current Issue")
The research described in Quick Study comes from credible, peer-reviewed journals.