Study links tooth loss to higher risk of breast cancer

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A new study has linked tooth loss and gum disease to a higher risk of breast cancer.

The study, which was carried out by a research team at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, found that people who had lost teeth and suffer from gum disease were eleven times more likely to develop cancer than people with healthy teeth and gums.

The research project involved three thousand people, but experts have stressed that further research needs to be carried out in order to find out more about the relationship between oral health and cancer. The results of this study will come as a shock to many people, although research is consistently confirming the importance of good oral health, with studies now linking poor oral health to an increased risk of many different illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease and even dementia. Gum disease has also been linked to an increased risk of complications during labour and childbirth and premature birth for pregnant women.

Dr Nigel Carter, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, said that further research was required but the results of the study were interesting and further reinforced the importance of good oral health.

Gum disease and decay can be prevented by spending a few minutes every day brushing the teeth, using dental floss to remove plaque from areas of the mouth that are hard to reach with a toothbrush, eating a healthy diet and visiting the dentist for a check-up every six to twelve months. Symptoms of gum disease include bleeding gums, soreness and pain in the gums and red, swollen gums.

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