Root Canals: Is There A Link To Cancer Or Heart Disease?

Some advocates of alternative medicine have spread rumors of a possible link between having a root canal and developing cancer. If you're faced with getting a root canal now or in the immediate future, this may be of concern, but rest assured: There is no scientifically proven link between getting a root canal and getting cancer of any kind.

Is There a Connection Between Root Canals and Cancer?

If you're searching online for more information about root canals and what to expect, you may run across a statistic that 97 percent of people who have root canals go on to develop some type of cancer. The origins of this false information are explained in a Snopes article, and it may have started from the website of one alternative practitioner who is opposed to many common mainstream medical practices.

If you start to carefully think about this statistic and ask some of your friends who have had root canals, you'll realize that it would be nearly impossible for such a high number of people to have experienced both. And if such a high number of people were getting cancer after an endodontic procedure,  scientific researchers would have discovered a provable link. After all, root canals have been around for nearly 200 years, and the American Board of Endodontics has existed for 60 years.

In fact, some researchers have discovered that those who have had endodontic treatments like root canals are actually at a 45 percent reduced chance of developing some types of cancer.

Why Having a Root Canal Can Protect You Against Heart Disease

Root canals are performed because your tooth's pulp is damaged in some way, and bacteria is getting inside the tooth. This leads to pain and infection. Rather than pull the tooth completely, dentists can remove the nerve and the pulp, fill it with an inert plastic and seal it with a filling or crown so that bacteria cannot grow. 

If you do not have the procedure done, bacteria can continue to multiply, increasing infection and leading to swelling, gum inflammation and disease and even possible bone loss. What's more, an increase in oral bacteria has been associated with increased risk of heart disease. Prompting treating any infection in the mouth can reduce risk of heart attack and stroke as well as the spread of infection to other parts of the body.

If your dentist has told you that you need a root canal, you don't need to be worried about a link to other types of disease. In fact, getting that infection treated quickly can prevent you from getting sick. Talk to your dentist or oral surgeon about any concerns that you have. Contact a dentist, such as Rick Chavez DDS, for more information.