Poor oral health linked to many different chronic diseases

Poor oral health has been linked to many different chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes, to name a few. Oral cancer is on the increase, with an estimated 640,000 new cases diagnosed each year. But oral cancer is not the only cancer we need to be concerned about when it comes to oral health. A new study is suggesting that poor oral health can increase the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer, by up to 75%.

A study from Queen’s University Belfast involving 469,628 participants in the UK, investigated the association between oral health conditions and the risk of a number of gastrointestinal cancers, including liver, colon, rectum and pancreatic cancer.

Primary Dental - Oral Health“There is inconsistent evidence on the association between poor oral health and specific types of gastrointestinal cancers, which is what our research aimed to examine,” Said Dr. Haydee WT Jordao, lead author of the study.
“Whilst no significant associations were observed on the risk of the majority of gastrointestinal cancers and poor oral health, a substantial link was found for hepatobiliary cancer.”

Studies link poor oral health to increased cancer risk

There are also many studies that link poor oral health with an increased risk for pancreatic cancer. One of which, conducted in June of 2016, found that people with high saliva levels of Porphyomonas gingivalis, a specific type of oral bacteria strongly linked to periodontitis, are at a higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

There are also emerging studies showing that the presence of a common type of oral bacteria often implicated in tooth decay, F. nucleatum, promotes the growth of colon cancer. The colon cancer cases that were associated with this particular strain of bacteria are often the most aggressive.

A new study is suggesting that, people whose teeth and gums are in poor health may also be more susceptible to an oral virus that can cause certain throat and mouth cancers. Researchers found in a study of more than 3,400 adults, that those who rated their oral health as poor or fair were more likely to have an oral infection with human papillomavirus, better known as HPV, which in certain cases, can eventually lead to cancer.

Good oral hygiene and regular dental visits are important to long-term health

Clearly more and more scientific studies are revealing how oral health is connected to our overall well being. Good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing daily, a healthy diet and regular visits to the dentist are very important, not only for our oral health but our overall health as well.