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Breast cancer and oral hygiene

As we leave October behind and head into the busy holiday season, our office would like to leave everyone with one last informational post about breast cancer.  New studies suggest that individuals with missing teeth or periodontal disease are 11 times more likely to develop breast cancer. The study “Periodontal disease may associate with breast cancer” was carried out at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. Periodontal disease can be prevented by simply flossing and brushing.  For individuals with a family history of breast cancer, great oral hygiene could go a long way towards the prevention of developing cancer.  Individuals who suffered themselves or had a mother or father battle breast cancer, the importance of instilling great oral hygiene techniques in your children cannot be stressed enough.

For those individuals who are currently battling breast cancer, oral hygiene becomes imperative. Chemotherapy and radiation treatment can suppress white blood cells which normally function to prevent the spread of infection.  A decayed or infected tooth would be better removed before the start of such therapies so the bacterial infection in the teeth doesn’t spread causing severe complications.  Chemotherapy can also have an effect on saliva production leading to dry mouth.  With less saliva to wash them away food particles stay in the oral environment longer . The longer contact time allows the oral bacteria to convert the sugars in food into acids which will cause decalcification and increase the decay of the teeth. Saliva substitutes and high dose fluoride tooth paste or rinses can help to combat the effects of decreased saliva production.  While you are fighting the battle we are here to help you maintain a healthy mouth and smile.  We want to help make your smile strong and healthy like the survivor you are.