Periodontal disease may associate with breast cancer

An interesting study was published in Breast Cancer Res Treat (vol 127, pages 497 – 502, 2011) titled “Periodontal disease may associate with breast cancer,” by Birgitta Soder and et al.

The study evaluated the association between periodontal disease and the incidence of breast cancer in a prospective study of 3273 randomly selected subjects aged 30 to 40 at baseline.

The authors open by discussing how periodontal disease is characterized by chronic infection and inflammation leading to destruction of the bone surrounding the teeth. Some studies estimate that between 15 to 35% of the adult population in industrialized countries suffers from periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is initiated by a biofilm of bacteria on the teeth which triggers an immune-inflammatory response in the adjacent host tissues.

Periodontal disease is of particular importance when considering whether or not to have wisdom teeth removed as it is a risk of developing when keeping them. This is discussed over at  Numerous studies and discussions have been made by the American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) as it relates to periodontal disease and third molars for example see their latest white paper on third molars (link and discussion at

The paper discussed at the beginning of this blog post is

“… the first study presenting data about the eventual risk that long-standing dental infections may present risk for breast cancer.”

The study did find a statistically significant result between subjects with periodontal disease who had breast cancer and those without periodontal disease.

The researchers state

“Our results clearly identified periodontal disease and loss of any molar from the mandible as an independent predictor for breast cancer.”

The reasons for molar tooth extraction in this Swedish adult population was not clear and likely either due to dental caries or periodontal disease.

The authors further state

“Hence, periodontal disease may indeed contribute to the increasing incidence of breast cancer in middle aged and older people….Our findings may nevertheless have importance in the ongoing discussion about life style and the risk of cancer.”

The authors would like to see these results confirmed by a subsequent study.

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