Cavities give cancer the brush-off

Sep 13, 2013 | News

By Alyssa Capistrano & Charlotte Baker
Image courtesy of WikkiCommons.

Image courtesy of WikkiCommons.

Cavities may be more beneficial than you think.

A new study conducted by Dr. Mine Tezal, an Assistant Professor with the University at Buffalo’s School of Dental Medicine, found having cavities as an adult can decrease the chances of getting mouth or throat cancer by 32 per cent.

Tezal discovered that the lactic acid bacteria produced by cavities in the mouth can itself prevent cancer cells from developing. The bacteria can also decrease the instance of inflammatory diseases and allergies.

Dr. Marcy Skribe, a registered dental hygienist, says although the research sheds light on a way to prevent cancer, it is important to focus on the bigger picture.

“The idea of lactic acid preventing cancer is a good thing,” she says, “but at what cost are you going to allow yourself to have cavities to prevent cancer that you don’t know you’re going to get?”

Skribe says that cavities will not stay the same size, continuing to grow and eventually causing a painful infection. Cavities do not abide exclusively in the mouth and can even find their way into the bloodstream.

Katelyn Morgan, 22, a second-year fitness and health student at Humber College, disagrees with the research, despite its findings.

“I would keep brushing my teeth because if you have more cavities you’re more likely to get gum disease, which can lead to heart problems and further cardiovascular diseases,” she says.

Jonathon Bablo, 21, a third-year HVAC student at Humber College, says he is surprised by the results of Tezal’s research, but that it won’t change anything.

“I think cavities will definitely increase the chances of disease and infection. It would just simply make more sense,” he says.