Researchers in China have found that individuals with periodontal disease have a 1.24-fold increased risk of developing lung cancer. Also, individuals who drink, smoke, or have diabetes have a 1.36-fold increase in lung cancer risk. And, women with periodontal disease are more likely than men with periodontal disease to develop lung cancer.
The research assessed the findings of 5 cohort studies that evaluated 321,420 participants. One of the studies suggested that certain oral bacteria might be involved in the development of cancer cells in the lungs. Another study indicated that successful treatment of periodontal disease might substantially reduce the risk of lung cancer.
“This report can be added to the body of literature that associates periodontal disease with other conditions in the body, including diabetes and heart disease,” said Wayne A. Aldredge, DMD, president of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP).
“While additional research is needed on the possible links between lung cancer and periodontal disease, we know for sure that taking care of your teeth and gums can reduce periodontal risk and possibly the risk of other systemic conditions,” Aldredge said.
According to the AAP, periodontal disease affects half of all Americans age 30 years and older and is 2.5 times more prevalent than diabetes. The American Cancer Society (ACS) reports that lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in men and women, surpassing the totals for colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. The ACS also expects 158,000 Americans to die from lung cancer this year.
The study, “Periodontal Disease and Incident Lung Cancer Risk: A Meta-Analysis of Cohort Studies,” was published by the Journal of Periodontology.