Gum disease can lead to a kind of cancer
The presence of two kinds of bacteria, especially Tannerella forsythia, is tied to a 21% increase in the odds of developing tumors on the esophagus, a new report from researchers at NYU found. This is on top of the other illnesses that gum disease has already been linked to — including, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and even premature births.
The study tracked the oral health of 122,000 Americans over 10 years and after analyzing the data, the researchers found those two specific strains of bacteria were prevalent in patients with the cancer.
Esophageal cancer is the sixth leading cause of cancer death around the world. It is the eighth most common kind of cancer and because it's usually diagnosed at a late stage, the five-year survival rates are at or below 25%.
More research is needed to learn about the differences between the good types of mouth bacteria — that could lead to a lower cancer risk — and the dangerous kinds.
The study noted that common, well-known oral health practices like regular brushing, flossing and dental checkups can all protect against gum disease and the diseases it causes.