Ill-fitting dentures may be a risk factor for oral cancer

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Ill-fitting dentures may be a risk factor for oral cancer


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Chronic irritation caused by ill-fitting dentures may increase the risk of developing trauma-related cancer, a literature review in India has found. (Photograph: TunedIn by Westend61/Shutterstock)

Wed. 12 April 2017


MUMBAI, India: Chronic mucosal irritation resulting from ill-fitting dentures may be a risk factor for the development of oral cancer, researchers from the Department of Head and Neck Oncology at Tata Memorial Centre in Mumbai concluded after reviewing existing literature on the relationship.

Oral cancer is one of the most common types of cancers in India and is estimated to cause about 50,000 deaths annually in the country. In addition to a variety of factors that are known to increase the risk of oral cancer, including tobacco and alcohol use, human papillomavirus infection, poor diet and neglected oral hygiene, chronic mucosal trauma has been associated with the disease in the past. However, the connection between such trauma, which can be caused by sharp teeth, dentures or implants, among others, and the occurrence of oral cancer has not been scientifically established thus far.

In the current study, the researchers systematically reviewed 22 articles that described the role of chronic irritation in causing oral cancer. The results suggest that chronic mucosal irritation resulting from ill-fitting dentures may be considered a risk factor for carcinogenesis in the mouth. According to the researchers, trauma-related cancers might be seen more often at the lateral border of the tongue and at the alveolus. However, no association was found for the duration of denture use and cancer formation.

Referring to mechanisms behind the relationship, research has suggested different scenarios, the researchers wrote. It has been proposed that persistent mechanical irritation causes DNA damage and may eventually result in cancer formation. Another possible mechanism is that chronic mucosal trauma results in inflammation, thereby releasing chemical mediators such as cytokines, prostaglandins and tumour necrosis factor, which may result in carcinogenesis.

The study, titled “The role of chronic mucosal trauma in oral cancer: A review of literature”, was published online on 30 March in the Indian Journal of Medical and Paediatric Oncology.

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