Is oral health a risk for malignant disease?

Dent Update. 2010 Jun;37(5):279-80, 282-3. doi: 10.12968/denu.2010.37.5.279.


Poor oral health has been associated with a variety of systemic diseases. More recent evidence suggests that the extent and severity of periodontal disease and tooth loss may be associated with an increased risk of malignant disease. An association between poor oral health, smoking, increased alcohol consumption as a risk for oral cancer is well established. Associations between oral health and tooth loss with gastric, lung and pancreatic cancers are explored. Some of the associations need further evaluation before patients are warned about their periodontal health increasing the risk of malignant changes elsewhere in the body. The smoking factor may have a commonality linking oral health with an increased risk for malignant disease.

Clinical relevance: This paper reviews the association between oral health (especially the extent and severity of periodontal disease and tooth loss) as a risk for certain malignancies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Oral Health
  • Periodontal Diseases / complications*
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Tooth Loss / complications