Oral Health and Breast Cancer



October/Breast Cancer Awareness month 2018 is here! This is a great time to blog about the connection or relationship between oral health and breast cancer. In summary, oral health is linked to breast cancer in 2 respects. First, certain oral health factors have shown to correlate with the occurrence of breast cancer. Secondly, the treatment of cancer can cause harmful and uncomfortable oral health issues.


            Multiple studies and research have shown that people with periodontal disease have a higher prevalence of breast cancer.  Periodontal disease is gum disease. Unfortunately, this correlation or higher prevalence is not surprising. Gum disease has been linked in countless studies with many different cancer forms and many different diseases. These diseases include diabetes, heart disease, pneumonia, and many others.  It is believed that inflammation is the major link between periodontal disease and cancers. This periodontal or gum disease causes a response of inflammation. With this response, anaerobic bacteria and viruses enter the blood stream. These viruses can control or suppress the body’s immune response.  Therefore, the body’s defense is vulnerable. This vulnerability may result in the development of abnormal cell changes, including breast cancer.


            So, how can we prevent the gum disease which causes this harmful inflammation? The following is a list of good tips for prevention:


As previously mentioned, cancer treatments (chemotherapy and radiation therapy) can cause harmful oral issues.  These issues include changes in taste, mouth sores, difficulty swallowing, and jaw stiffness.  Also, there is often a low white blood cell count as a result of these treatments and medications.  These white blood cells function to fight off and prevent infection. Therefore, deep cleanings and other dental procedures should be done before cancer treatments.  Gentle oral hygiene is important for cancer patients. There are different dental treatments that can be done for these patients while undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Fluoride therapy is most beneficial. Regular or more frequent dental hygiene appointments are important to these patients.


      I hope this blog has been helpful and informative for those of you who like more specific and technical details, I have included a few of the following bullet points:

Dr. David Roach Nashville Dentist - Our Fearless Leader!

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