A new Swedish study appearing in the Journal of Cancer reports that missing teeth are a significant predictor of cancer.

For 24 years, the study followed periodontally-healthy adults who were between ages 30 and 40 at baseline.

Using regression statistical techniques, the study evaluated what were significant predictors of cancer over this period. Two factors were significant, allowing for other known risk factors: a missing mandibular molar at baseline and age. Those with a missing molar had more than twice the odds of having cancer over 24 years.

The authors postulated a biological pathway which might explain the connection (Chart 1).

The mouth is part of the body.


Chart 1: Explanatory pathway for the development of cancer triggered by chronic dental infections



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