Approximately 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer at some point in her lifetime. Most women know to perform self-exams and have yearly mammograms starting at age 40. Recent information, however, suggests that taking care of your teeth and gums can decrease your risk of developing breast cancer.
Earlier this year, a Swedish study found that women with gum disease or missing teeth may be 11 times more likely to face breast cancer. Conducted at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, the research followed over three thousand patients, with 41 developing breast cancer. This study is one of the first to look at the connection between gum disease, tooth loss, and breast cancer.
Though you can’t control all your risk factors, gum disease and tooth loss are preventable. The number one cause of tooth loss for adults in this country, gum disease is caused when plaque and bacteria build up under the gum line, forming pockets of infection. Initially, you may experience swollen or bleeding gums. As the disease progresses, patients can face gum recession, loose teeth, and eventually lost teeth.
To prevent gum disease and tooth loss, you should:
• Brush at least twice a day and floss regularly
• Choose toothpaste with fluoride and use an anti-microbial rinse
• Eat a balanced diet
• See your dentist for checkups every six months
• Stop tobacco use