Oral Health and Cancer

  • Mei Chung
  • Benjamin R. York
  • Dominique S. MichaudEmail author
Microbiology (C Genco, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Microbiology


Purpose of Review

Recently published studies have provided new evidence for a role of oral health on risk of cancer. This review summarizes the latest research on this topic, including several new cohort studies that have examined associations on periodontal disease and cancer risk.

Recent Findings

The most consistent findings for associations with periodontal disease have been observed for lung cancer; five out of seven studies have reported statistically significant increases in risk of lung cancer. For pancreatic, colorectal, and head and neck cancers, the associations are less consistent across studies, and the overall summary relative risk estimates are not statistically significant. However, these associations remain of interest, given the limitations of existing data (i.e., measurement error in periodontal disease assessment and small sample sizes), and growing support for biological mechanisms on how bacteria previously linked to periodontal disease may play a role in carcinogenesis.


Future studies need improved assessment of periodontal disease in population-based studies to determine if heterogeneity of current studies resides with measurement error. Periodontal disease treatment and prevention may turn out to be important targetable cancer prevention strategies.


Periodontal disease Lung cancer Pancreatic cancer Colorectal cancer Head and neck cancer Fusobacterium nucleatum Porphyromonas gingivalis 



Research supported by the 2018 AACR-Johnson & Johnson Lung Cancer Innovation Science Grants Number 18-90-52-MICH.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mei Chung
    • 1
  • Benjamin R. York
    • 1
  • Dominique S. Michaud
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Public Health and Community MedicineTufts University School of MedicineBostonUSA

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