Poor oral health increases the risk of cancer

Poor oral health increases the risk of cancer



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Poor oral health increases the risk of cancer
05.04.2014

Smoking, alcohol and poor oral hygiene increase the risk of cancer of the upper airways and food passages. This is the conclusion of an international study that was recently published. Mouthwash may also increase the risk.

Poor oral health and irregular visits to the dentist As an examination of patients with upper airway cancer has shown, poor oral health and irregular visits to the dentist play a role in the development of cancer. There is also evidence that excessive use of mouthwash may be another cause of these specific types of cancer. This is the result of a Europe-wide joint study that was recently published in the journal "Oral Oncology". The scientists involved identified new risk factors for cancer of the upper air and food passages. Overall, the study included data from 1,962 oral and laryngeal cancer patients and 1,993 healthy controls from 13 centers in nine countries.

Smoking and alcohol have long been known as risk factors. It has long been proven that smoking and alcohol consumption, especially in combination, cause oral and larynx cancer to develop. Low socioeconomic status is also considered a risk factor for cancer development. Thanks to the methodological approach and the large number of participants, it was now possible to separate the influence of the individual risk factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and low socio-economic status. Although several risk factors in combination naturally increase the likelihood of developing cancer, the researchers nevertheless found that poor oral health and irregular dental care can be seen as independent factors. Factors such as frequent bleeding gums and wearing dentures were considered signs of poor oral health in the study.

Also with dentures to the dentist regularly "People who wear dentures and no longer have their own teeth should not believe that visits to the dentist are superfluous", says David Conway, lecturer at the dental clinic at the University of Glasgow and co-author of the study, according to the Austrian "Der Standard ". "On the contrary, those who wear a prosthesis should still go to the dental check-up regularly," the scientist continued. The frequency of visits to the dentist should be determined by the dentist. For low-risk patients, once a year is enough, but for higher-risk patients, a six-monthly visit may be necessary.

Excessive use of mouthwash increases cancer risk The study also showed that excessive use of alcoholic mouthwash - more than three times a day - was associated with an increased risk of oral and throat cancer. "The causal role of mouthwash in the development of cancer has to be investigated further," said Professor Wolfgang Ahrens from Bremen. However, it has not been determined whether a certain type of mouthwash is responsible for increasing the risk. The co-author of the Conway study advises not to use mouthwash every day. The most important thing is regular brushing of teeth and the use of dental floss in combination with regular visits to the dentist. (ad)

Image: Gerd Altmann, pixelio.de

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