The systemic oral connection describes how problems in your mouth can be tied to health issues throughout your body. In particular, unhealthy gums have already been linked to several conditions – heart problems, Alzheimer’s, respiratory illness – and recent studies have found one more possible correlation: liver cancer. Here’s what you need to know about gum disease in Longmont and its connection to a life-threatening disease.
What is Gum Disease?
Your mouth is filled with bacteria that, if not controlled with good oral hygiene, can enter the gums and cause an infection. The earliest stage of gum disease is gingivitis, which can cause bleeding, swelling, and redness. If gingivitis isn’t treated in a timely manner, it’ll become periodontitis, a much more severe condition that can ultimately result in tooth loss.
How is Gum Disease Linked to Liver Cancer?
A recent study in the United Kingdom found that those with unhealthy gums were 75% more likely to develop liver cancer. The goal was to examine the relationship between oral health and specific gastrointestinal cancers (which are cancers that involve the digestive system); such cases were the cause of 37% of all cancer deaths in 2018.
It should be noted that while the link between gum disease and liver cancer is apparently quite strong, a causal relationship hasn’t been confirmed yet. A person’s behavior and their environment also need to be taken into account; smoking, nutrition, and alcohol are all risk factors that are common between the two conditions.
Can Keeping My Gums Healthy Protect My Liver?
It’s not certain that avoiding gum disease will prevent liver cancer from occurring, but it will certainly help promote good overall health. You can decrease the chance of an oral infection by:
- Brushing at least twice day. You may consider bringing your toothbrush to work so that you can brush after lunch. Don’t forget to pay attention to the gumline; bacteria can easily accumulate in that area.
- Floss daily. You’ll need to be sure you can comfortably clean between every tooth; if you have trouble using traditional string floss, interdental brushes and water picks may be easier to use.
- Eat plenty of vegetables. Onions can help neutralize oral bacteria, and leafy greens are filled with nutrients that protect against irritation and infection. Crunchy vegetables such as carrots and celery can act as natural toothbrushes that help remove plaque from the teeth.
- See your dentist twice a year. They’ll be able to treat gingivitis in its earliest stages and can help thoroughly clean areas you might have missed on your own.
If you notice the signs of gum disease in your mouth, make an appointment with a dentist in Longmont as soon as possible. A swift treatment can make recovery easier – and it can help protect you against larger health issues later!
About the Practice
At Longmont Complete Dentistry, Drs. James Maurer and Dan Maurer provide families with quality dental care. Dr. James has been practicing dentistry for over two decades, and Dr. Dan is proud to be working alongside his father. They offer gum disease treatment as well as other forms of preventive dentistry. To schedule an appointment, visit their website or call (303) 772-7000.