Men, In Particular, Must Safeguard The Health Of Their Gums

There is a direct link between men and gum disease and cancer. A man who has a history of gum (periodontal) disease is 14 percent more likely to develop cancer than a man who has healthy gums. Periodontal refers to the area “around the tooth.”

The Connection

Specifically, periodontal disease and the development of blood cancer, pancreatic cancer and kidney cancer are linked. For example, a man is 54 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer if his gums are diseased. Additionally, periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and heart disease are associated. Neglecting the gums and teeth is a nonrefundable ticket to poor health.

How Do You Know If You Have Gum Disease?

Signs of periodontal disease include bleeding when eating hard food, flossing or brushing and tender and swollen gums. Additional signs include pain in the mouth; teeth separating or becoming loose; pus in the gums and sores, in the mouth. Bad breath is another indicator of periodontal disease. If teeth no longer fit when biting, this is yet another red flag. Those wearing partial dentures, which no longer fit correctly, may have gum disease.

Gingivitis and periodontitis are two kinds of gum disease leading to tooth loss if not treated. Gum disease strikes when persistent bacterial infection attacks gums and the bones supporting teeth. Plaque contains bacteria. Plaque is a sticky, colorless film. Bacteria form on teeth and causing gums to become inflamed.

Gingivitis

When afflicted with gingivitis, gums become swollen, red and bleed with little provocation. Gingivitis, the least serious, yet still serious, form of periodontal disease can lead to periodontitis.

If gingivitis is not addressed, plaque grows and spreads under the gum line. The bacteria in the plaque produce toxins. As the disease progresses, the bones and tissues in the mouth holding teeth in place in place break down and are destroyed. The gums come apart from the teeth, and spaces (pockets) appear between the gums and teeth. These areas become infected.

Gingivitis is preventable, in most cases, by regular oral hygiene. It can sometimes be reversed with the assistance of professional and continued oral hygiene practices.

Periodontitis

One form of periodontitis is aggressive periodontitis resulting in speedy loss of attachment and bone elimination. Chronic periodontitis, which is more common type, causes inflammation in the tissues and progressive rather than swift attachment. Bone loss occurs.

Individuals suffering from heart disease, diabetes or a respiratory disease often have periodontitis because it is a symptom of general disease starting when a person is still young.

Those who suffer from HIV, immune-suppression, and malnutrition frequently become victims of necrotizing periodontal disease, which manifests in lesions and the death (necrosis) of cells in the periodontal ligament, the gingival tissues and alveolar bone. Alveolar is any part that relates to the lower or upper jaws and which contain teeth roots.

Pancreatic cancer is a fatal disease so any insight into how or why it develops benefits medical researchers. One theory is inflammation occurs as a result of gum disease, which may lead to cancer in the pancreas, reports Science Daily. Gum disease may increase carcinogenesis in the pancreas because those with periodontal disease have more oral bacteria and more carcinogens in their mouth.

When a person suffers from gum disease, he has higher levels of bio markers of systemic inflammation, and this may prompt the development of cancer cells, according to Dominique Michaud, an assistant professor at epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health.

It is imperative men have regular dental check-ups, particularly as they get older. Make an appointment with a dentist. It could save your life.

Lesley Inglin is an independent writer specializing in dental health. This Texas resident believes that Dr. Chet Hawkins sets the highest standards for dentists in Texas.

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