London, May 27 : People with gum disease are at an increased risk of developing cancer, suggests a new study.
A team of researchers at Imperial College have found that people suffering from gum disease have a 14 per cent higher risk of developing any type of cancer.
People with mainly two forms of gum disease such as gingivitis, inflammation of the gums and bleeding and the more advanced periodontal disease, which affects tissues and bone supporting the teeth, are more vulnerable to cancer.
However, researchers said it is still unknown whether periodontal disease causes cancer or is merely an indicator of an impaired immune system that makes the patient more susceptible to tumours.
The study led by Dr Dominique Michaud, of Imperial College London, examined the medical records of 48,375 men, out of which 5,720 cases of cancer emerged.
"Periodontal disease was significantly associated with an increased risk of lung, kidney, pancreatic, and haematological cancers," said the study.
"This study doesn't confirm whether it is gum disease or other factors that are causing this small increase in risk," the Telegraph quoted Hazel Nunn, the health information manager at Cancer Research UK, as saying.
"Deprivation may play a role as people from deprived backgrounds are more likely to have both poor dental health and poor overall health," Nunn added.