Dental plaque may be associated with premature death due to cancer, according to a study1 of randomly selected adults in Sweden.
The study authors suggest that there may be a link between plaque levels and cancer and death due to cancer.
The cause and development of cancer is not studied; however, the presence of high bacterial load on tooth surfaces and in gingival accumulations was associated with poor outcomes.
“Although population studies of this kind are difficult to conduct, they can have potentially important implications,” says Dr. Joel Epstein, a JCDA editorial consultant and director of oral medicine in the division of otolaryngology and head and neck surgery at the City of Hope, a comprehensive cancer centre in Duarte, California.
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“In cancer patients, oral health has been identified as a concern during and following cancer therapy.
Although the study’s conclusions do not demonstrate cause and effect, they raise questions about potential systemic consequences of poor oral health and specifically death due to cancer.”
° J Can Dent Assoc 2012;78:c87