There may be a connection between women with gum disease and their increased risk of certain types of cancer according to a study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Specifically, women with gum disease were found to have a 14 percent higher risk of developing cancer; three times more likely when it comes to esophageal cancer.

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Jean Wactawski-Wende, dean of the School of Public Health and Health Professions at the State University of New York at Buffalo, is the lead researcher of the study and stated, “These findings may provide a new target to test an intervention for cancer prevention — oral hygiene and periodontal disease treatment and prevention.”

While the study’s data collection was exhaustive — focusing on nearly 66,000 women between the ages of 54 to 86 — it was still unable to prove a correct cause and effect.

“There may be a connection between gum disease and cancer, but we really can’t tell how strong it is because the gum disease is self-reported,” explained Dr. Ronald Burakoff, chair of dental medicine at North Shore University Hospital, who was familiar with the study’s findings according to HealthDay.

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The study’s initial findings, though, have sparked conversation over how inflammation can play a role in making other kinds of diseases more likely. Wactawski-Wende explains further research is needed.

By Vivian Nunez

Originally published on HelloFlo.