LINK DISCOVERED BETWEEN PANCREATIC CANCER AND GUM DISEASE

LINK DISCOVERED BETWEEN PANCREATIC CANCER AND GUM DISEASE

It is estimated that more than 70 percent of the adult U.S. population has some form of gum (periodontal) disease, which has been linked to stroke, diabetes, and other serious ailments.  Therefore, we highly recommend maintaining your oral health through good oral hygiene, including regular brushing and flossing of the teeth and regular dental check-ups, because this is essential to sustaining overall good health.

Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection of the tissues that support the teeth. It attacks the tissues just below the gum line, and can eventually cause bone loss around the base of the teeth.  Having periodontal disease-causing bacteria in the mouth may increase the likelihood of inflammation.  It is thought that chronic inflammation, which has long been associated with the development of cancer, may be the connection between specific types of cancers and periodontal disease.  Gingivitis, a precursor of periodontitis, is simply inflammation of the gums and is not harmful unless left untreated.  At ConfiDental we identify severe cases of gingivitis and periodontitis, and offer treatments like deep teeth cleaning to stop it in its tracks. Together with your good oral hygiene practices, you can avoid some major, even life-threatening assaults on your health.

Early diagnosis is often the key to successful treatment of most health problems like diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and pulmonary disease, among others.  Interestingly, early markers of many diseases are exhibited in the mouth and gums months or even years before they are detected through various medical tests.  Many of these conditions have been linked to periodontal disease, and now several studies conducted by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and others are showing a link between periodontal disease and pancreatic cancer.

The research models first adjusted for age, smoking history, diabetes, obesity, diet and other potentially confounding variables, and in the end concluded that men with a history of periodontal disease had a 63 percent increased risk of pancreatic cancer compared to men without a history of periodontal disease, and a higher risk of all cancers.  Researchers pointed out that this finding does not confirm that the two periodontal disease-causing bacteria cause pancreatic cancer.  Rather, they most likely contribute to it with systemic inflammation occurring within the body, known to be a precursor for developing cancer.

PANCREATIC CANCER GUM DISEASE LINK

In 2016, pancreatic cancer moved from the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S. to the third, for the first time surpassing breast cancer.  It is an extremely difficult cancer to treat because of the advanced stage at which it is often diagnosed, and little is known about what causes it, but certain risk factors have been identified:

  • cigarette smoking (an established risk)
  • obesity
  • type 2 diabetes
  • insulin resistance, and now…
  • periodontal disease

AND SOME OF THE RISK FACTOR FOR PERIODONTAL DISEASE ARE:

  • tobacco smoking or chewing
  • unhealthy diet
  • systemic diseases such as diabetes
  • pregnancy or use of oral contraceptives
  • some types of medication such as steroids
  • some types of anti-epilepsy drugs
  • cancer therapy drugs and some calcium channel blockers
  • bridges that no longer fit properly
  • fillings that have become defective

Bad breath may be the least of your worries if you have gum disease.  It has been shown that people who have developed pancreatic cancer tended to have poor oral health and are known to be susceptible to gum disease and cavities. The consequences of these problems can be very expensive.  More studies are in the works to determine if periodontal disease is a cause of pancreatic cancer.  Nevertheless, at ConfiDental we tell our patients that good oral hygiene is always extremely important as the first line of defense, and if a person does have periodontal disease, they should be seen regularly by a periodontist or well-trained dentist for regular cleanings and checkups to get and keep the condition under control.

SO WHY TAKE THE RISK?

Prevention by good oral hygiene practice can avoid so many dental and health problems, and it’s not difficult to do…. Especially when compared to the alternatives.


There are many advantages to the early detection of periodontal disease, including its low cost and learning how to prevent it.  To learn more about how good oral hygiene can improve your dental and overall health, and how we can help, contact us at ConfiDental Costa Rica. Just fill out the contact form on this page and a dental expert will be in touch to help you learn more.


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