Gum disease is extremely common among Americans despite the fact that in most cases it is easily prevented. While the earliest stage of gum disease, gingivitis, may seem like a minor inconvenience, it can lead to more serious health problems if left untreated. In fact, untreated periodontal disease can be linked to diabetes, heart disease, and oral cancer. In many cases it takes an expert in periodontal disease treatment like Dr. J. Robert Friedberg to form the proper diagnosis and construct a comprehensive treatment plan.

The Link Between Oral Health and Cancer

Recent studies indicate there is a strong connection between oral health and the rest of the body’s overall health. Studies have found that men with gingivitis have a 14 percent higher risk of developing cancer. Gingivitis and periodontal disease are caused by bacterial infection and lead to inflammation of the gums. Without treatment, this bacteria can easily travel to other parts of the body. Inflammation of the gums can lead to bone loss, which may increase the risk of oral cancer and pancreatic cancer. It is clear that good oral health promotes whole body health whereas periodontal disease can lead to a host of other serious medical issues.

It is important to understand that in some cases, the symptoms of oral cancer look quite similar to the symptoms of gum disease. In the early stages of both diseases, there is little pain and the gums simply look redder. Even in a more serious stage, the bleeding and inflammation caused by periodontal disease can be mistaken for the gum tenderness caused by oral cancer. 

Why Early Diagnosis and Treatment Is Essential

Because of the similarities between oral cancer and gingivitis, and the possible correlation between the two, early diagnosis and treatment by a professional like Dr. Friedberg is essential. If you notice tenderness or bleeding along the gum line, or if it has been a long time since your last dental cleaning and checkup, contact our office for a comprehensive exam and oral cancer screening.