Breast Cancer and Dental Health
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Much attention goes to funding research to fight this disease that impacts 1 in 8 women within their lifetime. But there’s much more you can do! There is a connection between breast cancer and dental health as well.
- In 2015, an estimated 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 60,290 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.
- Only 5-10% of breast cancer cases have been linked to the inherited BRACA gene, however expression of this gene is not guaranteed if lifestyle changes occur
How are breast cancer and dental health linked? While the statistic are staggering there is much more that you can do than just raising money (this is important too)! There is NO question that breast cancer is highly linked to diet, as is your dental health (both have been highly research and proven-see below for resources showing research). By consuming a nutritious diet you drastically reduce your risk of developing many forms of cancer, breast cancer included, as well as diabetes, periodontal & heart disease. What’s a nutritious diet? One that is low in fat, primarily saturated fat, and comprised of whole foods. The average person in America consumes 35% of their daily calories from fat (Source)! The recommendation from the federal government is below 20%, however, to truly reduce disease, you should strive for your fat intake to be under 10% of your daily caloric intake. Obese and overweight women are at much higher risk of developing breast cancer, and all forms of cancer. Fat cells make estrogen, and breast cancer risk increases with high levels of estrogen in the body. Eating a diet that is plant-based, or predominantly plant-based, boosts your health tremendously, as well as provide your body with the antioxidants it needs to fight & prevent disease. Fruits and vegetables fight inflammation, while foods high in saturated fats and low in fiber (animal foods), increase all forms of disease; heart disease, diabetes, cancers, Alzheimer’s Disease, periodontal disease, and more. Breast cancer rates are much lower in countries that eat a predominately plant-based diet.
It is no coincidence that the recommendations for decreasing breast cancer risk and dental health recommendations are the same. Both diseases are caused by inflammation in the body, and are exacerbated by poor dietary choices. Whether you have been recently diagnosed with breast cancer, are a survivor, or trying to prevent getting the disease, the following recommendations can help boost your health!
Some steps you can take to help to reverse disease and reduce your risk of both breast cancer and periodontal disease:
- Eat MORE than 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day! Fruits and veggies are packed with antioxidants to fight disease
- Boost your fiber (did you know that less than 9% of Americans get the recommended amount of fiber!)-by eating those fruits & veggies, as well as getting in servings of legumes like lentils, chickpeas, black beans, cannelini beans, pinto beans, and ALL other kinds of beans and lentils!
- Skip the processed stuff!!! Eat WHOLE foods-the less processed your foods are, the more nutritious they are. Eat foods you can recognize, and avoid foods with long lists of ingredients, especially those you can’t identify
- Avoid oils-oil provides no nutrition other than fat calories. Diets high in fat have been shown to increase inflammation in the body and lead to cancers, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and periodontal disease
- Avoid dairy-dairy is inflammatory. Cancers feed on inflammatory foods
- Eat a whole, plant-based diet-plant-based foods are nutrient dense and have high fiber amounts. Fiber will fill you up and satisfy you, which helps you to eat less overall calories
- Buy organic whenever possible-pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides have been linked to higher rates of cancer
- Start your kids off on the right track! Cancers can grow slowly, and many occurrences of cancer have been growing for years before they are detected
- Visit your dentist! If you have been diagnosed-visit your dentist! Changes in dental health during and after cancer treatment is common. Staying on top of your dental hygiene routine is important to prevent further periodontal disease
***All of these steps will also help one lose weight. Overweight and obese women have a much higher incidence of breast cancer.
At Altman Dental, we are passionate about your dental and overall health. So much so, we have a blog devoted to healthy, plant-based recipes, as well as an employee who teaches plant-based cooking classes. Check out our blog www.gardenfreshfoodie.com for recipes high in antioxidants and low in saturated fat. Below is a great recipe for Spicy Red Lentil Soup that is high in fiber, antioxidants, plant-based protein, and made oil free.
How about an apple muffin recipe made without the typical refined sugars, flours? This recipe is plant-based and gluten & oil free
For more information on links between diet, breast cancer, and dental health-visit these sites:
Link Between Breast Cancer and Diet-BRCA breast cancer and soy