Bone loss around teeth may cause cancer

LOS ANGELES Periodontitis is the loss of bone around the teeth. It's already known to cause heart disease, but now, experts say it may also be a risk factor for cancers of the head and neck.

Researchers at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York studied 266 patients with primary head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, as well as 207 healthy people.

They found that with each millimeter of bone loss, the risk of head and neck cancers increased more than four-fold.

Experts say the link was even seen in subjects who had never used alcohol or tobacco.

Researchers say more studies are needed to establish the impact of smoking on the increased cancer risk.

The study is published in the September issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention.

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