The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey has now uncovered a link between Periodontal disease and oral cancer. Periodontal disease is a form of gum disease that causes infection and inflammation of the tissue surrounding and supporting the teeth. The participants of the study where divided into two groups, depending on the measure of gum detachment from the teeth, an indicator of the presence of periodontal disease. They were then observed for the presence of oral tumors, precancerous lesions and other problems in the oral cavity. Researchers concluded that those with periodontal disease were four times more likely to have an oral cancer, and twice as likely to have a precancerous lesion.
The study however, does not prove that periodontal infection causes oral cancer. But, if proved, then researchers believe that the scope for prevention and earlier diagnosis is enormous.