New Study Shows Connection between Gum Disease and Pancreatic Cancer

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A new study presented at the 2016 American Association for Cancer Research meeting points to a connection between gum disease as a potential early marker for pancreatic cancer.  The study, from a group of researchers at New York University, could possibly pave the way for early detection of this deadly disease.

So, it’s more important than ever to keep our teeth and gums in good shape. And studies also show that smiles make us more attractive, lower stress, elevate our mood and make us look younger!

But, many of us don’ take good care of our gums.  Nearly 50% of adults 30 years old or older have periodontal disease in the U.S., and that number spikes to 65% in adults 65 years old or older.  Yet, it’s not a disease that’s readily discussed, despite the fact it’s 2.5 times more common than diabetes!  But, there’s good news.  Gum disease is preventable, or reversible, if you just “love the gums you’re with.”

The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) encourages all Americans to understand the importance of periodontal health through its “Love The Gums You’re With” campaign.  The AAP hopes to educate us on the importance of good oral hygiene, and the need to speak to a dental professional about periodontal health because we all love the thought of a sparkling smile and fresh breath.

“Taking care of your gums shouldn’t be an afterthought,” says AAP President Dr. Wayne Aldredge. “Gum disease is preventable, or reversible. You just need to follow a few simple tips to ensure a lifetime of healthy gums.”

The AAP just launched a new tumblr page called GUMBLR (Gumblr.org) to help you take better care of your gums.  This engaging site is filled with valuable information to help you find a local periodontist, learn more about gum disease and take an interactive quiz. Check it out today!

To help us keep the gums we have for life, here are some fast facts from the AAP:

  • There are two types of periodontal disease: gingivitis, the mildest form, and periodontitis, or advanced gum disease
  • Periodontists specialize in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease, and receive three additional years of training after dental school
  • Symptoms of periodontal disease include red and swollen gums, receding gums, bleeding when flossing, loose teeth, mouth sores and persistent bad breath
  • Gums may separate from teeth, forming pockets that become infected with bacteria
  • Gum disease can lead to social anxiety and discomfort from loss of teeth and bad breath
  • Here’s what helps according to AAP President, Dr. Wayne Aldredge:  “brushing twice a day, regular flossing, regular dental checkups and discussing gum health with a periodontist. If needed, there are non-surgical therapies or more advanced procedures based on the severity of the disease.”
  • In 2015, an AAP survey showed that 27% of U.S. adults lie to their dentist about how often they floss their teeth, with 15% saying they’d rather wash dirty dishes than floss.
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