September 8, 2009 --
We've heard reports that gum disease can affect your heart--now there's word it could also play a role in head and neck cancers. A study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention finds having chronic periodontitis appeared to increase one's odds of developing head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
Periodontitis involves the progressive loss of the bone and soft tissue attached to the teeth.
The cancer risk appeared to be roughly as high for smokers or non-smokers.
Scientists say, if you already have periodontitis, get treatment and maintain good oral hygiene.