oral health & cancer

Illustration of cancer icon with a green background

Better oral care and treatment may help eliminate cancer-causing microbes in the mouth. 
(Did you floss today? Just checking.)


How Oral Health is Connected to Cancer

The mouth is a mirror for issues happening in the rest of the body. Your oral health is more than a sign of how diligently you brush and floss, it can also be a sign of cancer risk. You may also be wondering what the effects of cancer are on your oral health. The inside of your mouth is the perfect place for bacteria, mostly harmless, to thrive. When built-up bacteria is left untreated, it has a downstream effect on the rest of the body. That’s why it is important to regularly see your dentist.

Patient in dentist chair


$4.5 billion is spent each year in the U.S. on treatment of head and neck cancers.

black and white wallet with money coming out of it.


A study published in 2022 linked gum disease with a nearly 50% increased risk of colorectal cancer.

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1 in 24 hrs

Oral cancer kills about 1 person per hour, every day, 24 hours a day.

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The five most common bacteria associated with cancer: Aa, Pg, Tf, Td and Fn, can now be identified through a simple salivary test.

black and white bacteria

How the Mouth-Body Connection® Works

The Mouth-Body Connection refers to the link between oral health and overall systemic health, and the role that harmful bacteria and inflammation play in our mouth and body. When oral bacteria is left untreated, the bacteria from gum disease can circulate through the bloodstream and affect other parts of the body. This is why Smile Generation-trusted dentists recognize the connection between oral health and cancer to help you understand your potential risk.

MBC Cancer

Generations of Smiles Magazine

Read the latest about the link between oral health and cancer.

Smile generation magazine issue 3

Take Control of Your Oral and Overall Health

If there ever was a good time to visit a Smile Generation-trusted dentist, this is it. Find a trusted dentist near you to schedule an appointment and receive the treatment you need to improve your oral health and understand how it can help diagnose and potentially reduce your risk for cancer.

Man brushing teeth

Got questions?


Smile Generation-trusted dentists make understanding the Mouth-Body Connection simple. Call us at 1-800-SMILEGEN to get started.

No matter how long ago your cancer went into remission, there is always a chance that cancer can return. The risk of remission is greatest within the first two years, which is why it's so important to make regular follow-up visits with your doctors so they can monitor for signs that the cancer has returned. Oral cancer patients can also develop a second form of cancer, both during treatment for oral cancer and afterward.


Learn more in our blog article, "Oral Cancer Treatment."

There are several common treatments to remove oral cancer that may be used depending on its location and stage as well as other factors:

  • Surgery to remove the tumor from the body
  • Radiation therapy using beams of high energy to kill cancer cells
  • Chemotherapy using chemicals to kill cancer cells
  • Targeted drug therapy using medication that binds with cancer cells to hinder their growth
  • Immunotherapy using the body's natural immune system to fight the cancer

Learn more in our blog article, "Oral Cancer Treatment."

Because it is not always noticeable whether a person has oral cancer, it is vital to have a regular cancer screening to ensure there are no forms of oral cancer inside the mouth. Some routine dental checkups include this exam, but not all dentists do. Therefore, it is important to ask your dentist about the exam. You will know if your dentist is performing an oral cancer screening because they should thoroughly check the tissues, gums, and tongue. This exam also includes your ears, nose, neck, and head in some cases.


Learn more in our blog article, "Oral Cancer Screenings: Cost and Steps."

The cost to treat oral cancer will vary depending on a wide range of factors, including:

  • The type of cancer treatment
  • The length of your treatment
  • Where you're receiving treatment
  • What kind of health insurance you have
  • Whether you have supplemental insurance

Learn more in our blog article, "Oral Cancer Treatment."