Background: Several studies have suggested an association between poor oral health and esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). We conducted a case-control study in Kashmir, a region with relatively high incidence of ESCC in north India, to investigate the association between oral hygiene and ESCC risk.
Methods: We recruited 703 histologically confirmed ESCC cases, and 1664 controls individually matched to the cases for age, sex, and district of residence. Conditional logistic regression models were used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
Results: We found an inverse association between teeth cleaning and ESCC risk. As compared with never cleaning teeth, the OR (95% CI) was 0.41 (0.28-0.62) for cleaning less than daily and 0.44 (0.25-0.77) for cleaning at least once a day (P for trend=0.026) in models adjusted for multiple potential confounders, including several indicators of socioeconomic status. This association persisted after we limited our analyses to never tobacco users. The inverse association between cleaning teeth and ESCC was stronger with using brushes than with using sticks/fingers. We also found an association between the number of decayed, filled, and missing teeth and ESCC risk, but the trend of the associations was not statistically significant. Avoiding solid food and cold beverages because of teeth and oral problems were also associated with ESCC risk.
Conclusion: We found an association between poor oral hygiene indicators and ESCC risk, supporting the previous studies that showed the same associations.