The link between oral health and cancer prevention

The link between oral health and cancer prevention

Recent research shows a link from peridontitis to certain cancers.

According to research conducted at the University of Helsinki and the Helsinki University Hospital in Finland, as well as the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, the bacteria that cause periodontitis may also play a role in the development of certain cancers, including pancreatic cancer. The researchers published their study in the British Journal of Cancer after investigating the ways in which gum disease-causing bacteria affects the development of oral cancers and other forms of the disease, as well as the connection between periodontitis and cancer-related deaths.

What did the study find?
The study found that on a molecular level, the bacteria most commonly associated with periodontitis may also be linked to the onset of certain kinds of cancer. The researchers discovered that an enzyme in the bacteria, known as treponema denticola (Td) also occurs in malignant tumours of the gastrointestinal tract. The enzyme is able to activate the enzymes used by cancer cells to attack healthy tissue, and also reduces the immune system’s effectiveness.

While the study conducted at these institutions was the first of its kind to look at the bacteria’s mechanism on a molecular level, a previous study published in The International Journal of Cancer, found a connection between periodontitis and cancer mortality. Both studies confirm that the bacteria that cause gum disease and inflammation in the mouth can spread to other parts of the body and cause serious damage.

What can we do about it?
Prevention is key when it comes to gum disease, as is early diagnosis and treatment. We recommend that you come in for regular dental check-ups so that we can assess your oral health and address any concerns you have with your teeth and gums. We’ll also check for any signs of oral cancer when you come in for a check-up. As with most forms of the disease, the outcomes of oral cancer can be greatly improved through regular screening and early detection.

It’s also very important that you practice a good oral health routine at home. Brushing and flossing everyday are all very important aspects of maintaining an effective regime.

If you have children, it’s essential that you teach them good oral health habits from a young age and that you keep their teeth and gums healthy and clean. For babies, you can wipe their gums daily with a cloth in order to remove plaque. When their teeth emerge, you can begin to use a soft toothbrush, and we recommend that you supervise oral hygiene until your little one is around eight or nine years old.

When was your last dental check-up? To arrange an appointment, please get in touch with us. Your oral health affects your overall wellness!

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