Charlotte NC, Feb. 23, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Doctors have been aware for some time that there is a link between periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, and systemic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, but new research indicates that there is also a link to cancer. "I want my patients to be aware of the health risk that gum disease poses," explains Dr. Wells, "But thankfully it can be prevented." This month Dr. Wells is helping patients understand the risks associated with gum disease by offering thorough examinations and soft tissue management.

Periodontal disease is linked to an increase risk in a variety of cancers. Dr. Wells explains that studies show that the same bacteria and infection that cause periodontal disease can travel through the bloodstream and damage other parts of the body. A 2007 Harvard study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute revealed a 63% higher incidence of pancreatic cancer in men with advanced gum disease. And it's not just pancreatic cancer. Another study from the journal, Lancet Oncology, confirmed that there is an increased risk for lung, kidney, and blood cancers in patients with moderate gum disease.

"Gum disease is no joke and the sooner it is detected the better," says Dr. Wells. The best way to prevent gum disease, and lower patient's risk for cancers associated with it, is preventative care. According to Dr. Wells, there are five ways to help prevent gum disease from developing.

First and foremost, brush and floss regularly. He recommends brushing twice a day with a non-harsh, all-natural toothpaste.  Flossing every day with the only way to get food particles and bacteria out from between teeth.

Second, eat healthy foods. "I get that we might not always make the best choices, I love junk food as much as the next guy. But for good oral health, we need to eat the green stuff, too," says Dr. Wells. He recommends choosing foods that are antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory, and alkaline. Leafy greens, raw vegetables, colorful berries, and organic proteins are all good choices to keep mouths healthy.

The third and fourth ways to prevent gum disease go hand in hand according to Dr. Wells. "Managing stress and getting regular exercise help your mouth and body perform at its best." Stress is the most damaging influence on the body and learning how to deal with it can lower a patient's risk for many diseases, including gum disease and cancer. Getting regular exercise promotes good oral health by improving the circulatory system and immune system.

Lastly, Dr. Wells recommends getting regular exams by a dental professional. "Check-ups are really the only way for you to know what's really going on in your mouth," explains Dr. Wells, "Early detection is key in lowering your risk and sometimes only a trained professional can tell if a potential problem is forming."

National Cancer Prevention Month is a great reminder to everyone to make healthy choices. For more information on Dr. Wells or South Charlotte Dentistry, visit their website at or call 704-759-0908 to make an appointment. South Charlotte Dentistry is located in Charlotte, NC near Ballantyne at  7741 Ballantyne Commons Parkway Suite 102 Charlotte, NC 28277.

Christina Baker  (704) 759-0908