Chronic inflammation and cancer have long been linked. Galen, a forward-thinking Greek doctor, noted a link between inflammation and cancer 2,000 years ago.  In fact, the word “tumor” is from the Latin word, “tumere,” which means “to swell.”  According to the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, longstanding inflammation, or chronic inflammation, fosters an environment in which some cancers can thrive.  Michael Karin, PhD, at the University of California in San Diego, said, “..if we could learn how to decrease the effect of inflammation on cancer, we could prevent 20 percent or more of all cancers.”  Wow!  That is significant!  Can gum disease treatment decrease your cancer risk?   

Our body’s immune system forms a defensive shield and inflammation is an important component of that.  Inflammation can be either friend or foe. Acute inflammation has rapid onset and short duration.  It produces pain, heat, swelling, redness, and sometimes loss of function.  Acute inflammation is our friend because it helps us heal!  In this post, I’ll be talking about chronic inflammation, which has a delayed onset and lasts a long time.  This silent, persistent form of inflammation is the root cause of most chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, gum disease, migraines, stroke, etc.  It is definitely our foe!

Gum disease, also known as Periodontal Disease, is a chronic inflammatory disease that is typically “silent” in terms of pain.  Bleeding is the first sign of gum disease that is often easily ignored. Our mouths are naturally full of bacteria – beneficial bacteria as well as harmful bacteria.  The harmful bacteria, along with mucus and food particles, forms the colorless, sticky plaque that forms on the teeth. When this plaque is not removed, it calcifies into tartar or “calculus” and can only be removed via a dental cleaning by a dental hygienist or dentist.  This calcified material forms “condominiums” (my term) for inflammatory cells and the situation escalates.  The mildest form of gum disease is gingivitis; when permanent damage occurs in the form of bone loss, it is called periodontitis.  The body’s immune system fights the growing toxic community and the toxins are carried to other parts of the body by the blood stream.

How can you START SOMEWHERE today to decrease your body’s inflammatory load?  Here are some easy strategies:

  • Tell yourself the truth.  If your gums bleed at all, then you have inflammation. This is a “red light” telling you to stop and get help.  Find a dentist who takes bleeding gums seriously.
  • Make sure you have a dentist who does an annual Comprehensive Periodontal Exam.  This is an objective way to detect pocket depth and bleeding points so that you know what needs to be done to restore your oral health.  When done annually, small problems can be detected before they are big problems.  That’s the goal!
  • Consider Oral Probiotics.  Replenish is a pleasant-tasting meltaway that helps put good bacteria back in your mouth. These good bacteria can crowd out the bad bacteria and freshen breath.  I formulated them, and my patients love them!
  • Increase your intake of raw vegetables.  I recommend starting with two cups a day and working up to seven or eight cups.  A good supply of antioxidants reinforces your immune system to fight toxins.
  • Get serious about your home care.  Ask a qualified Dental Hygienist what specific routine you need.  The best routine is the one that is customized to work in your hands.   

A healthy immune system generally has the ability to recognize self from foreign invaders like cancer cells that are dividing abnormally.  Our understanding of the relationship between cancer and inflammation is growing, but we have much more to learn.  Chronic inflammation is the common link between the host of lifestyle diseases that rob people of freedom of movement and joy.  Periodontal disease is a silent foe that makes most of them worse.  Can gum disease treatment decrease your cancer risk?  We don’t know for sure or to what extent.   But we do know that committed home care and quality professional care will decrease your body’s inflammatory load from dental problems. LIVE YOUNGER by addressing the inflammation that is at your fingertips.  Today is the best day to START SOMEWHERE making small choices that will yield big results.  You can do it.  I will help you.

Can Gum Disease Treatment Decrease Your Cancer Risk?

Can Gum Disease Treatment
Decrease Your Cancer Risk?