Root Canal Fillings

I recently read an article on the internet about links between root canal fillings and breast cancer. I know that when I was first diagnosed, at the same time I was told by my dentist that all the root canals in my crowns were infected and the crowns needed replacing.

I would be interested to hear from anyone elses comments on this…

I haven’t heard of a link between root canal fillings and breast cancer but it has been known for a while that if a root filling is not done properly and the microbes can leach out, then it is a potential source of infection which in turn can lower the immune system. There is a hypothetical question whether the infected nerve in a tooth can harbour the vCJD virus hence why all root canal instruments such as reamers, files etc are all disposed of rather than sterilised and reused. Also, it is also argued that there is a direct link between periodontitis (advanced gum disease) and heart disease, stroke diabetes and some types of cancer because of the bacteria involved entering the blood stream.

The alternative to a root canal is an extraction, which would definitely rule out any bacterial infection. However, the vast majority, if carried out properly (and therein lies the rub because it is a fairly difficult procedure especially in molar teeth with multi roots) it is a safe and acceptable alternative to losing a tooth and the best thing to do if concerned, if ask your dentist to check existing root fillings and ensure your gums are healthy.

I find this quite interesting because i have needed to have 2 teeth extracted but have constantly put it off. I am due to have them out the end of this month now. I didnt realise that there was a connection with breast cancer. I would be interested to read any further information on this.
take care

Very interesting. I’ve had a lot of root fillings - 7 to be precise! But my mum was the same (we have them in the same place even) but she has never had breast cancer.

I have had a couple that got very badly infected one of which had to be sorted out in hospital. So who knows?


I have root fillings. No history of BC in the family. But my immune system is over the top. I have a goiter because my immune system attacks my thyroid glad. It went down considerably with the chemo treatment taking its toll on the immunity. It is now on is way back up in size as I recover from 6xEC treatments. weird or what? xxx

I’ve just been reading on the internet the connection between BC and root canal treatment. I have 2 root canal, 1 of which has become infected over the past couple of weeks. I am on anti biotics for it and have missed my last chemo session because my blood count was too low. After reading all the information i’m quite worried about what to do next. I’m happy with my dentist, but doubt that he’ll back up this theory- as he was the one who recommended and gave me the root canals. I think I would like these teeth removed now for peace of mind, but am presuming that I’ll have to wait until my treatment is over (Feb) Also worried about the infection not clearing with the antibiotic- BTW The infected tooth is on the opposite side to BC side!!

Can anyone shed any light on this topic??
Has anyones Doc/Onc ever mentioned this to them upon their diagnosis??

Sarah x

I had root canal fillings in a couple of teeth that went on to be pulled… when i had the second one something went badly wrong and the poison escaped - my face blew up like a ballon and i had to rush to hospital for emergency treatment (by time i got there my throat was starting to close up)


Oooh! sounds bad… was that having the root canals done or having the tooth taken out??

Sarah x

it was having the root canal work - some of the bad stuff got pushed into my sinuses - there must have been a crack in the root… after they treated me at the hospital they told me that the last patient they had like that was a 19 year old lad - but he had a problem with his bottom set of teeth and he died as the swelling in his throat was too bad… they said i had just been okay as mine was my top set…

This is very interesting. I’ve had a lot of root canal fillings over the years and a few very nasty infections. However my mum has also had a lot too (my root canals are largely in the same place as hers)yet she’s not had breast cancer.

If I had all my root canal filled teeth removed I’d have to have dentures and I’m not doing that. Personally I’d want a lot more evidence of a link and the actual factors. For example if it’s related to infection there is no point have a root filled tooth removed is there?

Elinda x

Hi Slatch, i just wanted to say that i asked my oncologist about this article and he laughed and told me to stop reading such articles. Personally though i think its worth a thought. I had a tooth that was repeatedly getting infected (also opposite side to breast cancer). I had that and another tooth out a few weeks ago. My tumour is triple negative so its a possibility it could be linked, i mentioned the article again, this time to my oncologists registrar and he said in his opinion he wouldnt rule it out.
take care

Hi Anna,

Thanks for that, I admit it is still worrying me. But then so is everything else. I think I just really want to find the reason why I have got BC, then I can eliminate that from my life!!

Sarah xx

Hi Sarah,
I have a tooth that needs taking out and was advised to leave it until after chemo in Feb. It became infected 3 weeks ago and I had to take anti biotics for it. I have my bloods tomorrow ready for 4th fec on thursday so will be interesting to see if my count is affected. I did have a far worse 3rd chemo than the first two and when i spoke to oncologist yesterday she thought it might be to do with taking anti biotics whilst on chemo and hopefully it will be better this time round. Tooth still feels tender and obviously needs to come out but like you, loathe to have it done while having chemo ! Very interesting to read everyone elses posts here about it and the links! as you say, would be lovely to find something to blame it on!
karen xx

i realise this thread is quite old, but i am wondering if anyone has any up to date experience or informtion reagarding root canal fillings and breast cancer. I have recently read some pretty alarming information on the internet. I also realised I was diagnosed with early invasive BC 6 months after having a very bad experience with a root canal filling - broken file left in tooth and severe infection which took a long time to recover from.

2 years on the tooth is still painful and I am wondering if I should just have it removed.

Does anyone have any information or experience on this topic? Doctors and dentist do not seem to be very forthcoming on this subject.

I would love to get some more information on this.