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April 7, 2023

Is it True that Root Canals Cause Cancer?

patient getting a root canal

Root canals are one of the most commonly maligned dental procedures, which is a real shame. Root canals can save teeth that may be beyond help by any other means, painlessly and with virtually no risk of complications.

One of the most prominent myths has to do with a supposed connection between root canals and cancer. There’s no truth to this, but the myth has regained prominence in recent years. Here’s why there isn’t anything to be worried about.

Origins of the Myth

This misapprehension has its origins in the early 20th century and owes largely to the work of Weston Price. Price ran a series of methodologically flawed tests on the relationship between bacteria in the mouth and certain diseases. He came to believe that root canals left behind bacteria that could potentially lead to cancer in later life.

Busting the Myth

Price’s research has been picked up in pop culture but is considered to be discredited among modern scientists. Part of this has to do with some of the problems in how his studies were conducted—Price’s experiments were controlled poorly and were performed in environments without any kind of sterilization.

Other researchers have also tried to replicate his results, but have been unable to. No peer-reviewed studies conducted since have demonstrated any kind of connection between root canals and cancer.

In the end, Price’s research has been largely discredited, and while he still has a few high-profile supporters, there isn’t any data to back up the claims that they make.

Why are Root Canals Important?

The problem with these kinds of myths being as prominent as they are is that these misunderstandings drive people away from getting the root canals that they desperately need.

Root canals are often done in response to severe infection that has infiltrated deep within the tooth. Not only are these infections typically very painful, but they also put the integrity of the tooth itself at risk. In fact, root canals are often the last opportunities that you have to save an otherwise hopeless tooth.

Root canals are painless, streamlined, and can make a massive difference in how patients feel. Now that you know that the cancer risks aren’t there, there’s nothing to stop you from getting the care that can help you!

About the Author

Dr. Bradford G. Young’s favorite part of his work is being able to get to know his patients, and seeing how families grow over time. That’s why he feels enormously privileged to have earned countless loyal customers over his years as a dentist. Dr. Young received his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania Dental School and completed his general practice residency at the Lehigh Valley Health Network.

If you have any questions about root canals, he can be reached at his website or by phone at (610) 439-1363.

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