Do root canals cause cancer?

Patient being examined by a dentist

The claim

When you have a root canal, bacteria is left behind in your tooth. This bacteria releases toxins that make their way into your bloodstream and then to other parts of your body where cancer starts to develop.
Patient being examined by a dentist

The truth

There is no evidence that root canals cause cancer. A root canal involves removing infected or dead parts of a tooth, sealing off the cavity to prevent re-infection and saving part of the natural tooth. Research is being done to learn more about the relationship between oral health and cancer, but at this time there is no link between root canals and cancer.

The Canadian Cancer Society is committed to sharing important information about cancer risk to Canadians and will continue to monitor research in this area.