HUDDINGE, Sweden: Swedish scientists have suggested that dental plaque could be a risk factor for premature death from cancer. In a recently published study with almost 1,400 participants, they found significantly poorer dental status in subjects who had died 24 years after the baseline dental examination owing to malignancies.
In 1985, researchers from the Karolinska Institute, a medical university in Sweden, examined the oral health status of 1,390 Swedes between the ages of 30 and 40. The 724 women and 666 men were selected randomly from a registry file of all inhabitants of Stockholm County. The participants showed no signs of periodontitis but some had substantial levels of plaque on their tooth surfaces.
By 2009, 4.2 per cent of the subjects (58) had died from different types of cancer. The researchers observed significantly poorer dental status in the cancer victims. Overall, they showed a greater amount of dental plaque, gingival inflammation and dental calculus.
For instance, the researchers found that survivors had constantly lower mean values of dental plaque. While this group displayed dental plaque indexes of between 0.66 and 0.67, values of between 0.84 and 0.91 were observed in the participants who had died from cancer in the follow-up period.
In addition, the researchers found that significantly more women than men were alive at the end of the study. Malignant neoplasm of the breast was in most cases the cause of death among the 22 deceased female participants. Among the 36 deceased men, the malignancies had a wide range of diagnoses.
According to population demographics in Sweden, the researchers estimated that the deceased women in the study were expected to have lived 13.1 years longer and the deceased men 8.6 years longer. Thus, they concluded that the deaths could be considered premature.
The research was carried out in collaboration with the University of Helsinki.
The study was published online on 11 June in the BMJ Open journal.
15th Jun 2012, Patients with dental plaque more likely to die of cancer, Dental Tribute – The World’s Dental Newspaper, <http://www.dental-tribune.com/articles/content/id/8766/scope/news/region/europe>
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