​New research has discovered that women who suffer from gum disease are up to three times more likely to develop breast cancer.

The study, published in the journal of Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, involved more than 200 women, separated into two groups – those who diagnosed with breast cancer and those that had no history or signs of the disease.

Findings showed those who suffered from periodontitis had two to three times higher odds of developing breast cancer.

Researchers believe the link could support the theory that breast cancer could be triggered as the result of a systemic inflammation which originates in the infected gums.

They also suggest that bacteria from the mouth may enter the circulatory system through the gums which then may affect breast tissue.

Dr Nigel Carter, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation believes the study provides additional evidence that cancer could be associated with chronic inflammation and infections.

Dr Carter says: 'Interestingly, this research shows that there is evidence to support the theory that gum disease can have a much larger impact on the health of our whole body.

“It suggests that severe gum disease is associated with instances of breast cancer and this may be through spread of infection and inflammation starting in the mouth.

'It’s important to recognise though that gum disease has not been proven to cause breast cancer, or any other form of the disease and it remains to be seen whether it is just an association.

'The research mentions that more research is required in order to identify the specific relationship, something we very much welcome.

'If we can study periodontal disease and breast cancer in other populations, and if we can do a more detailed study of the characteristics of periodontal disease, it would help us understand more about the relationship.'