WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A new study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that people with cavities had a significantly reduced rate of developing head and neck cancers.
The study followed 620 people and was conducted by researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo, led by Mine Tezal, DDS, Ph.D. Researchers said the subjects with cavities showed a reduced incidence of head and neck cancer, perhaps because of heightened immune activity,
"To our knowledge, the present study suggests, for the first time, an independent association between dental caries [cavities] and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma," Tezal said.
Past studies examining periodontitis found an increased cancer risk for people who had infections below the gum line. So this new study came in contrast to those findings.
But while the study did connect the dental problems with the reduced cancer, it also noted a number of variables such as socioeconomic status and diet which could possibly be related as well.
The researchers said, in conclusion, that the report "provides insights for future studies."
The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.