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Poor Oral Hygiene Raises Health Risks

Poor dental hygiene may lead to cancer and early death. A Swedish study initiated back in 1985 included 1,390 randomly selected adults ages 30 to 40 who had no signs of gum disease when they enrolled. The participants were followed by periodic checks of their oral health and smoking habits until 2009. Over the 24 years of the study, 58 participants died, 35 of them from cancer. After the data were analyzed, the researchers found that age, being male and the amount of dental plaque documented at the dental checkups were principal predictors of death. The researchers suggested that the cancer link may have been due to toxins and enzymes associated with increased plaque that could have entered the bloodstream, possibly raising the risk of malignancies. They reported that the participants who died had exhibited significantly worse dental health at their check ups than the survivors. The study was published online in BMJ Open on June 11, 2012. The researchers noted that more studies will be needed to determine whether poor dental health is a significant contributor to the cancers that caused the deaths seen in this study.

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Reader Comments (4)

I taught my children since they were babies to maintain good oral hygiene. The mouth can also tell you about other health problems such as diabetes. Taking care of your teeth and gums is definitely a way to stay healthier, especially as you get older.

September 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

This just shows that we really have to take care of our oral health. Everyone should make sure that they maintain good hygiene to prevent sickness like what is mentioned on this article. This should be a wake up call for everyone who ignores their oral hygiene.

September 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVillage Dental

As a dentist I feel very bad for this. Still many of us not aware about oral health and many ignore it. I personally advice, its must for everyone to maintain their oral health for happy living.

September 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDr. Emil Hawary
I concur about dental health and its importance. However, I have to wonder about the dental x-rays. If one doesn't get a lot of other x-rays, then dental x-rays may be one's main source of radiation from x-rays. If one gets regular dental x-rays every twelve or eighteen months, is it worth the risk? (Further, these x-rays are obviously near the brain.)
December 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJon

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