Dental Problems

Chronic Gum Disease Linked to Tongue Cancer

Chronic Gum DiseaseA small study conducted at the State University of New York and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo reported for the first time that a

link exists between chronic gum disease i.e. periodontitis and tongue cancer.

According to a report published in ‘Archives of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery,’one of the JAMA/Archives journals,

men are at an elevated risk of tongue cancer if they have chronic gum disease,

besides whether they smoke or not.

The study compared 51 men with tongue cancer and 54 men without the condition. After checking all the participants the study reported that gum disease is a leading cause of tongue cancer.

The authors of the study said that: “After adjusting for the effects of age, smoking status and the number of teeth, each millimeter of alveolar bone loss was significantly associated with a 5.23-fold increase in the risk of tongue cancer. Other oral variables (the number of dental decays, fillings, crowns and root canal treatments) were not significantly associated with the risk for tongue cancer.”

The authors concluded that their study was small and the link needs more verification by larger studies that include women, other factors responsible for tongue cancer and other racial groups.

Adding to it the authors said that: “If this association is confirmed, it has a potential impact on understanding the etiology of oral cancer as well as on its prevention and control.”

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