Study Links Pancreatic Cancer And Oral Health

Posted on Jan 02, 2017 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Numerous studies have found links between oral bacteria and serious health problems that extend far beyond the mouth. The inflammation triggered by infectious oral bacteria have been linked to heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, preterm babies and even impotency.

Now, findings from one study reveal periodontal (gum) disease bacteria as a potential contributor to pancreatic cancer. While this has been suspected from the results of previous studies, this long-term study focused primarily on how the risk exists.

The study analyzed DNA from saliva samples from over 360 adults who eventually developed pancreatic cancer. Researchers compared these samples to the DNA in saliva of a similar number of adults who remained healthy.

Adjustments were made in both groups for variations in age, race, sex and body mass as well as alcohol use, smoking and being diabetic. Subjects who developed pancreatic cancer within two years after the DNA samples were taken were omitted to eliminate pre-existing factors that could influence statistical outcomes.

With the findings from prior research, this study allowed researchers to zero in on two specific types of periodontal disease pathogens. Researchers noted that one pathogen was more prevalent in the saliva of participants who developed pancreatic cancer, who showed a fifty-nine percent greater risk of developing pancreatic cancer. The second pathogen was shown to increase this risk by fifty percent.

Because it is typically not diagnosed until at advanced stages, pancreatic cancer has a deadly track record. This year, over 50,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Less than ten percent will survive more than five years.

For years, research showed that the infectious bacteria of periodontal disease could enter the bloodstream through tears in diseased gum tissues. It was found to be a trigger for inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body. This has been linked to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, preterm babies, impotency and other cancers.

In early stages, periodontal disease begins with tender gums that bleed easily when brushing and frequent bad breath. As it progresses, the gums become tender and swollen, deepen in color from a healthy pink to red, and cause persistent bad breath. Eventually, teeth will loosen and may require removal. Because over sixty-five percent of American adults have some level of periodontal disease, it is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.

Hopefully, the general public will learn of extensive research results that show that periodontal disease bacteria is destructive and deadly. As findings from further studies continue to be revealed, it is important to be proactive when it comes to the symptoms of periodontal disease. Remember, gum disease will only worsen without treatment.

Call 828-274-9440 to arrange a consultation. I’ll be happy to answer your questions and recommend ways to help you achieve a healthy, confident smile.

Recent Posts