While cavities may be a sign of poor oral hygiene, a new study reveals that they might in fact be good for your health as they reduce the risk of head and neck cancer.
The study was conducted by researchers at University of Buffalo in New York who found that people who had cavities were less likely to be diagnosed with head and neck cancer than those who did not have a single cavity. The researchers suggested that the heightened immune response caused by cavity causing bacteria may be responsible for the reduced cancer risk.
The researchers observed the dental hygiene of 399 people diagnosed with head and neck cancers and found that current or previous dental caries were significantly less common when compared to 221 people who did not have any cancers. The study has been published in the JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.
"Although these two oral diseases are often combined in a single category as indicators of poor oral health, they are distinct in terms of both etiology and outcome. We could think of dental caries as a form of collateral damage and develop strategies to reduce its risk while preserving the beneficial effects of the lactic acid bacteria", the researchers said.