Welcome to our Blog

Dental Health and Breast Cancer

The following article does a great job of explaining the how poor oral health can heighten the risk of developing breast cancer, as well as how cancer treatments can effect dental health. There are many great tips on how best to care for your teeth if you are undergoing cancer treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation, and how important it is to have needed dental work and a dental cleaning done prior to treatment. We hope you find this article helpful. Thanks for visiting Texarkana Endodontics.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women in the United States. About 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In 2011, an estimated 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 57,650 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer, with almost 40,000 deaths in 2011 alone. Many women’s lives could be saved if this cancer was diagnosed earlier, and early diagnosis could be achieved if there were more and easier opportunities to do so

Risk Factors of Breast Cancer

These include smoking, alcohol use, genetics, and others. Studies have also shown a link between breast cancer and dental health. You may be 11 times more likely to develop breast cancer if you have poor oral health or periodontal disease. Journal of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment conducted a survey of over 3,000 people and found that individuals with chronic periodontal disease had a higher occurrence of breast cancer.

The researchers found that the protein levels in saliva have shown potential to assist in the diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care of breast cancer. Dentists would be the perfect choice to take periodic saliva samples during regularly scheduled visits. This would aid the patient and physician greatly before, during, and after diagnosis and treatment.

Salivary testing has some real advantages over blood testing. The studies say that saliva collection is safe, non-invasive, and can be collected without causing a patient any pain or discomfort.

This method of early diagnosis is not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If it does receive approval, dentists and physicians could use it to diagnose breast cancer as a team. It is good to remember that salivary testing would not be a final diagnosis. Patients would still need to undergo routine breast cancer exams (including mammography and blood screening).

Dental Health Factors

More than one-third of people being treated for breast cancer can develop complications that affect the mouth. These complications can affect your quality of life. Preexisting or untreated oral disease can even complicate cancer treatment. This is one reason to make sure you visit your dentist at least one month before beginning cancer treatment. Most chemotherapy agents suppress white blood cells, which protect against infection. Chemotherapy can also effect saliva production, leading to dry mouth, and serious dental implications. The oral tissues can become very inflamed, cavities can become rampant, and gums may bleed easily. All dental work should be completed and the teeth should be cleaned prior to cancer therapy. Oral infection can be hazardous when your immune system is suppressed.

Most patients are treated with chemotherapy, radiation,or both. If you are also taking bisphosphonates, such as Fosamax, Boniva, etc., you may be putting yourself at further risk for bone problems. Recent studies suggest long-term use of such bisphosphonates may develop into destruction of the jaw bone. The risk significantly increases with chemotherapy.

How to Minimize Side Effects

More than 1/3 of people being treated for breast cancer can develop complications that affect their oral health. Chemotherapy agents can cause a person’s mouth to become inflamed (also referred to as mucositis). This can be very painful for the patient affecting swallowing, taste, appetite, speech, and even sleep.

Continue reading HERE.

Topics: Oral Health, Cancer