Although we’re led to believe that we live in a world of compartmentalization and separation, the reality is quite the opposite. And there’s no better proof of this than the human body. Everything in it is connected, which means that whatever goes on in one part has an effect on the rest of it. This is further supported by recent studies into breast cancer and its causes. They show that there is a possible connection between the foregoing condition and gum disease, which is why your dentist in Arlington wants you to be informed so that you can prevent this dreaded illness from manifesting. Read on to learn how your oral health impacts your overall wellness and how preventive dentistry can save more than just your teeth.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a condition that primarily stems from poor oral care, where bacteria and plaque have been allowed to build up on the teeth and gums. It develops in three phases:
- Gingivitis – This is the initial stage, where the gums are swollen, red, tender and bleed easily. In this phase, the damage caused by the buildup of plaque and bacteria can still be corrected.
- Periodontitis (Gum Disease) – If the warning signs are not addressed, they can advance to lead to the first stage of gum disease, where irreversible damage is done to the bones and fibers that hold the teeth in place.
- Advanced Periodontitis – In this final phase, infection and inflammation can set in, leading to the destruction of the connective fibers and bones.
The Connection Between Periodontitis and Breast Cancer
Not only can advanced gum disease cause the above listed problems, but it can also lead to breast cancer. Recent studies show that people who suffer from periodontitis are two to three times more likely to develop breast cancer.
The link between the two conditions is based on the theory that breast cancer is the result of systematic inflammation originating in the infected gums and the bacteria in the mouth entering the blood stream. This infected blood then permeates the breast tissue depositing toxins.
It’s important to note, though, that the findings of the studies do not suggest that gum disease is the sole cause of breast cancer; however, it does seem to contribute to creating an environment conducive to the growth of cancer cells.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
The best way to protect yourself is to maintain excellent oral hygiene, which involves brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day to remove the harmful bacteria that lead to gum disease. The other very valuable asset you have is your local dentist. Be sure to visit him at least semi-annually for cleanings and examinations so that he can monitor your oral health and address any developing issues before they get out of hand.
At the end of the day, you have the power to protect and enhance your overall health by being consistent in your practices and proactive in your approach. Reach out to your dentist to learn about how he can help you achieve the healthiest version of yourself.
About the Author
Following dental school, Dr. Hazim Sadeddin completed two years of postdoctoral training, including one year of General Practice Residency at St. Mary’s Hospital in Connecticut and the following year at Carolina Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Always keeping the care of his patients on the forefront, Dr. Sadeddin practices at Westover Dentistry. Give us a call at (703) 495-2247, or request an appointment online today.