Countless research has shown the correlation of healthy dental hygiene habits resulting in better dental and overall health, and the link between dental and breast health in women is no different.
When one’s dental health is neglected it introduces the ability of built-up bacteria from the mouth and gums to spread to other areas of the body. Once this bacteria moves throughout the body, it has the potential to cause further damage such as an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and even breast cancer.
Due to the strong correlation between dental and overall health, dentists could be next for spotting the first signs of breast cancer. According to studies published in General Dentistry by S. Paige & C. Streckfus, DDS, MA, protein levels in one’s saliva have the potential to help in the diagnosis of breast cancer, especially early diagnosis – a key factor that can determine one’s cancer survival rate.
“Since a patient visits the dentist more than their general physician, it makes sense that this diagnostic tool could be very effective in the hands of the general dentist,” says Paula Jones, DDS, FAGD, and Vice President of the Academy of General Dentistry.
Likewise, salivary testing is a more simplified testing method than blood analysis for both the healthcare practitioner and patient. Salivary samples are easier to obtain, are generally pain-free and also require less medical instruments than those needed for collecting blood samples.
Although salivary testing is on the horizon for breast cancer diagnosis it is by no means the final answer in a prognosis. “It would not eliminate the need for a regular mammogram and blood analysis; It would just be the first line of defense for women,” said Dr. Jones.
Despite the need for further testing, research continues to prove the importance of strong preventative dental health for prevention of further health ailments. Breast cancer diagnosis procedures continue to advance and, with the addition of salivary testing, has potential to diagnosis many women in the first stages of their cancer in an effort to increase their odds of beating it overall.