Science Friday: Poor Oral Hygiene Linked to Higher Cancer Risk?

Science Friday: Poor Oral Hygiene Linked to Higher Cancer Risk?An observational Swedish study has revealed that out of almost 1400 people studied between 1985 and 2009 where 35 of the participants died of cancer, the cancer patients had higher levels of dental plaque than the survivors, as reported by Time.com.

The researchers at the Karolinska Institute and the University of Helsinki revealed that participants in the study with high levels of dental plaque were 80% more likely to die prematurely of cancer during the 24-year study period than people with little to no dental plaque.

According to the Austrailian News, the study authors wrote, “Our study hypothesis was confirmed by the finding that poor [mouth] hygiene, as reflected in the amount of dental plaque, was associated with increased cancer mortality.”

The reasearchers have not determined that bad oral hygiene actually causes cancer, but state that what they found was only observational. But they warn that plaque could be a contributing factor in people with existing genetic predispositions to cancer.

“We don’t know if dental plaque could be a real causal part of cancer,” lead author Birgitta Soder of the department of dental sciences at the Karolinska Institute tells Time.com. “But it is a little scary to see that something we all have in our mouths can play such a role.”

What are your thoughts? Do you think poor oral hygiene can contribute to a higher cancer risk?

Read more at: Got Plaque? It May Be Linked with Early Cancer Death

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  • PeterTande

    I think that poor oral hygiene is probably caused by a number of factors that might make you more likely to be affected by cancer themselves.

    In other words, it’s the old correlation/causation trick.

  • I have read some articles about this matter too, but they seem not enough to make me believe how important dental care is. But thanks to this, I guess I just need a little more push to consider giving more attention with my dental care. 

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