Chronic irritation of the mouth resulting from ill-fitting dentures may be a risk factor for oral cancer, research by three Indian doctors has found. About 1,00,000 new cases of oral cancer are detected in India every year and it also leads to about 50,000 deaths annually. “Chronic mucosal irritation resulting from ill-fitting dentures may be considered a risk factor for the development of oral cancer, such cancers occur commonly over the lateral border of the tongue,” said the research conducted by Hitesh Rajendra Singhvi, Akshat Malik and Pankaj Chaturvedi from the Department of Head and Neck Oncology at Tata Memorial Centre in Mumbai.
The doctors, however, said that no association has been proven between the duration of denture use and cancer formation. Five-year survival of patients with early oral cancer is between 55 per cent and 60 per cent and it decreases to 30 per cent and 40 per cent in cases of advanced oral cancer, it said. The doctors reached the conclusion after reviewing 22 studies from across the world exploring links between mucosal trauma and cancer. Nearly 80 per cent of these cancers are associated with the use of tobacco, areca nut (supari), smoking and alcohol consumption. However, nearly 10 per cent patients of oral cancer may not have history of such addictions.
A mucosa is a membrane that lines various cavities in the body and surrounds internal organs. Dentures are removable appliances that can replace missing teeth. The doctors said that as per recent data from the Dental Council of India, there are about 1.5 lakh registered dentists for a population of about 1.3 billions, out of which 72 per cent live in villages which remain deprived from dental care. Amongst many reasons, low level of awareness among the population and the care providers even, has led to continued neglect of dental care.