For years, the medical community has been telling us that proper oral hygiene is crucial for maintaining good overall health. Scientists are now finding that bacteria in your mouth may actually reveal your risk for different types of cancer.
What Does the Oral Microbiome Tell Us?
Here are some of the major links researchers have uncovered between mouth bacteria and cancer:
• Fusobacterium, which causes bleeding gums, is hundreds of times more prevalent in cancerous cells than in normal cells. This bacteria can trigger colon cancer as well as accelerate growth in any existing colon tumors.
• A study last year discovered the presence of P gingivalis, a bacteria that causes periodontal disease, in 61 percent of patients with esophageal cancer. Researchers also found that people with P gingivalis have a 60 percent higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
• Researchers at the University of Buffalo conducted a study in 2015 involving more than 73,000 postmenopausal women. Results showed that women with gum disease were 14 percent more likely to develop breast cancer.
While conclusions have not been finalized, scientists suspect that the connection occurs when the bloodstream carries bacteria from the mouth to other organs. It’s hoped that further research will enable doctors to determine cancer risk simply by the type of bacteria present in the body.
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