Gum Disease Linked to Breast Cancer

LVI-Trained Dentist Serving Oakton, Vienna, McLean and Nearby Northern Virginia


Recent studies have shown that postmenopausal women with periodontal disease, or gum disease, are more likely to develop breast cancer. This is especially true in smokers.

The study found that gum disease raises the risk of cancer by 14%.

Factors which may contribute to the development of periodontal disease include:

  • Genetics.
  • Hormone changes in women. This is why postmenopausal women are especially at risk.
  • Having a disease which weakens the immune system like diabetes or cancer.
  • Taking medications that limit the production of saliva.
  • Smoking.

Smoking increases your risk of periodontal disease because the bacteria in those who smoke, or recently quit, is different than in non-smokers.

Those who quit within the last 20 years and have gum disease have a 36% higher chance of developing breast cancer. People with gum disease who currently smoke have a 32% higher chance.

There is a 6% higher chance of developing breast cancer if you gum disease but have never smoked, and an 8% chance if you quit over 20 years ago.

Breast cancer is not the only illness you are more likely to develop with gum disease. Heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancers of the head, neck, esophagus, pancreas, and lungs are all health risks associated with poor dental hygiene.

If you are in the Northern Virginia area and would like to schedule preventative dental care, call Softouch Dental Care at 703-319-6990 to schedule an appointment.