2 New Links Between Gum Disease and Cancer

Numerous links between oral health and body health have already been discovered, and, in addition to the already established effects of oral bacteria on heart health, two new links have been made between oral bacteria and cancer. Read on to find out how three specific types of oral bacteria that are unusually high in the mouths of sufferers of gum disease have been found to contribute to the likelihood of developing colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer and even speed the growth of colorectal cancer tumors.

1. Specific Oral Bacteria Speeds Growth of Colorectal Cancer Tumors

Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of death among both men and women, and it strikes those of all ages. This disease typically occurs when small, benign polyps in the lining of the colon are not removed in a timely fashion and then become cancerous tumors. One of the keys to beating colorectal cancer, like many other types of cancer, is early diagnosis and removal of tumors before they grow larger and begin to spread.

A new study shows that, when a specific type of oral bacteria called fusobacteria comes into contact with either a benign polyp or a cancerous tumor in the colon, it speeds the growth of the polyp or tumor. An abundance of this bacteria has long been known to be a main contributor to gum disease, or periodontitis. While the researchers conducting the study injected the bacteria into the tumors and polyps, it is easy to see how the bacteria could spread to the colon naturally, since humans swallow gallons of saliva daily. While stomach acid kills many bacteria before they enter the colon, some pass through unharmed, especially in people who take PPI inhibitors, which shut off the production of stomach acid.

2. Two Types of Bacteria That Cause Gum Disease May Lead to Pancreatic Cancer Development

While not as common as colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer. Unlike colon cancer tumors, which can often be detected during routine colonoscopies, there is little that can be done to detect pancreatic cancer in its early stages. There are often no symptoms experienced until pancreatic tumors become large and begin to cause pain.

A recent study of the oral bacteria makeup of those stricken with this often deadly cancer showed that those who suffered from the cancer had much larger numbers of two specific types of oral bacteria called Porphyromonas gingivalis and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans in their mouthsWhat do they both have in common with the fusobacteria that stimulates colon tumor growth? They are both bacteria that are present in much higher numbers in sufferers of gum disease.

These two new findings highlight the need to keep your mouth and gums healthy to ward off the growth of gum disease bacteria. While it may sound too simple, visiting your dentist twice a year for regular cleanings and check-ups and maintaining good oral hygiene practices at home is one of the easiest ways to keep your entire body healthy and may help ward off these deadly cancers. For more information on maintaining a healthy mouth and body, go to sites that discuss dental hygiene in detail.