Gum disease has an intimidating and robust reputation in the world of oral health and is usually a symptom of poor oral hygiene and a lack of visiting the dentist. The disease is most often spotted through the painful inflammation of the gums and soft tissue surrounding the teeth. However, there could be more reason to pay attention to your oral health, as new research from Finland has discovered a link between gum disease and the development of particular cancers.
Gum disease and cancer
According to the CDC, a shocking 47.2 per cent of individuals aged 30 have some form of periodontitis. Periodontitis is the advanced stage of gum disease, which attacks the jawbone, which keeps the teeth in place due to its aggressive nature. Over time and as the disease progresses, weakening can lead to defects such as facial sagging.
If that wasn’t enough, a recent study conducted in 2017, published by Timo Sorsa in the British Journal of Cancer, has shown a link between the bacteria which causes periodontitis, Treponema denticola, and different forms of cancer. In particular, researchers found that some gastrointestinal cancers and Treponema denticola share the same enzyme, a chymotrypsin-like proteinase. This enzyme is the main element in encouraging gum disease and has been found in some cancerous tumours.
The link between periodontitis and pancreatic cancer
To further this study, data contributed from 68,273 adults over ten years was analysed for any positive indication of a link between the two. Their findings proved successful in finding a very strong connection to the association between a diagnosis of gum disease and death cases due to pancreatic cancer. It was concluded that the inflammation of the gums bought on through periodontitis allows harmful bacteria to travel with much more ease around the body, then acting as a ‘booster’ for cancer cells to develop.
Preventing gum disease
Practising a consistent and thorough oral hygiene routine is extremely important. Good oral hygiene ensures that you keep your teeth and gums healthy, but it can also significantly benefit your overall health, even if we can’t see it at first. Regular brushing, flossing and appointments with your dentist work to give your mouth the best care possible.