National Prostate Health Month (NPHM), also known as National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, is observed every September. The month was created by the American Foundation for Urological Disease to raise awareness about prostate cancer and encourage men to seek detection and prevention.
In honor of this month, our team at Progressive Periodontics would like to explain a bit about prostate cancer and how it relates to gum disease.
How to Help Prevent Prostate Cancer Through Gum Care
When men are taught about preventing prostate cancer, the recommended methods tend to focus primarily on diet and fitness. Prevention tips often include eating naturally occurring red foods, eating fruits and vegetables, incorporating soybeans into the diet, drinking coffee, and exercising. What many people do not know is that there is actually an association between periodontal disease and prostate cancer, so gum care can play a role in prevention as well.
PSA tests, or prostate-specific antigen tests, are blood tests that have proven useful in detecting prostate cancer. PSA is a protein produced by cancerous and noncancerous tissue in the prostate. High PSA levels can indicate cancer, but they can also be caused by benign conditions. Research has shown that men who show indicators of gum disease, like red, swollen, tender gums, and inflammation of the prostate, have higher levels of PSA than men without these indicators. Studies also show that treating gum disease reduces symptoms of inflammation in the prostate.
Furthermore, men with gum disease indicators as well as prostatitis (inflammation in the prostate) tend to have higher levels of PSA than men without gum issues. Studies show that treating gum disease also reduces symptoms of inflammation in the prostate, effectively reducing PSA levels in the majority of men in the study.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
Because gum disease and prostate cancer are intertwined, those who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer or who are worried about developing it may be helped through gum disease prevention. The best practices for preventing gum disease are pretty simple. When you make an appointment with us, we will perform an evaluation to measure your condition and create a customized treatment plan. While each person’s treatment plan will look a little different, recommendations for preventing gum disease will typically include habits like:
- Daily flossing
- Regular dental cleanings
- Avoiding or quitting smoking
Overall, if you take good care of your oral health and follow the hygiene tips recommended by your dental care provider, you should be on your way to preventing gum disease. However, the disease is quite common, affecting 47.2% of adults ages 30 and older, according to the CDC. Therefore, even those who follow these steps are at risk of developing gum disease. Treating it at the source could help improve prostate cancer symptoms.
Improve Prostate Cancer Symptoms by Treating Gum Disease
Treating gum disease at the source is exactly what we do at Progressive Periodontics. Not only will we treat your teeth, we will also address any co-occurring signs and symptoms. We have a robust team with a diverse set of knowledge surrounding oral care and other health conditions, so we are an ideal choice when it comes to treating issues that affect the whole body, like prostate cancer. If treated early enough, gum disease can even be reversed, which can make a difference in both preventing and aiding in symptoms of prostate cancer.
The services we offer to treat gum disease include laser-assisted new attachment procedure (LANAP) surgery, gum grafting, and dental extractions and implants for severely damaged teeth. For this National Prostate Cancer Awareness month, don’t forget about the important role that your gums play in preventing prostate cancer and achieving greater overall health.
To be proactive about your gums and prostate health, or to simply schedule an appointment with our team, call us today at (503) 966-3780 or contact us online.