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Swedish researchers looked at almost 1,400 cases over 24 years.
Swedish researchers say they have found a link between dental plaque and premature deaths from cancer.
The study, published in the BMJ Open online journal, observed 1,390 people between 1985 and 2009.
The Press Association says that in that time 35 patients died as a result of cancer and they were found to have a significantly higher amount of dental plaque than those who had survived cancer.
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Also, the average age of death was 61 for the women and 60 for the men. The women would have been expected to live around 13 years longer, and the men for another 8.5 years, so their deaths were considered premature.
Dental plaque has previously been implicated in systemic health problems, News Medical explains, and the researchers wanted to find out if it might cause the kind of infections and inflammations that are thought to have a role in up to one in five cancers.
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"Our study hypothesis was confirmed by the finding that poor [mouth] hygiene, as reflected in the amount of dental plaque, was associated with increased cancer mortality," NewsCore quotes the authors as saying.
They concluded that dental plaque increased the risk of premature death by 79%, while older age and being male also increased the odds.
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