July 19, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Oral health: increased risk of cancer

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Poor gum and dental health can increase the likelihood of developing cancer or cause tumors to progress.

While we know a lot about the largest microbiome in the body, the gut microbiome, few know that The oral cavity is the second largest microbiome and contains more than 700 species of bacteria.

The oral microbiome and the balance of bacteria within it actually has a lot to do with your overall health.

In particular, a healthy oral microbiome may help prevent serious diseases, including cancer, according to Dr. Mingyan Song, an assistant professor of clinical epidemiology and nutrition at the School of Public Health at Harvard.

“Changes in the oral microbiome can cause systemic inflammation and indirectly compromise health by increasing the likelihood of disease,” explained Dr. Song. “Germs in the mouth can also travel to other parts of the body and increase the risk of health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease and various types of cancer.“, he added.

Research conducted by Dr. Song has shed light on connection between the oral microbiome and stomach and colon cancer. The experimenters concluded that people with a history of gum disease were 52% more likely to develop stomach cancer than people without gum disease, and that losing two or more teeth increased the risk of developing stomach cancer by 33%. Gum disease has also been linked to an increased risk of esophageal cancer.

Another study found that people with gingivitis (gum inflammation) were 17% more likely to develop a serrated polyp than people without gingivitis. Serrated polyp is a type of colon polyp that can develop into cancer over time about 25% of colon cancers develop from this type of polyp. The study also found that people who lost at least four teeth had a 20% higher risk of developing a serrated polyp.

In this study, a history of gingivitis was associated with an 11% increased risk of developing a common adenoma, another type of colon polyp that is not cancer but can eventually develop into cancer.

In these studies, scientists have identified disturbances in the oral microbiome with potentially serious health consequences that may be linked to poor oral hygiene, genetics, smoking, diabetes and obesity. According to Dr. Song, Regular and thorough brushing and flossingregular visits to the dentist, and maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle through proper nutrition, exercise, and quitting smoking are the keys that can protect against the onset of serious illness.

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