Uncovering the Link Between Periodontal Disease and Pancreatic Cancer

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To date, research has already discovered a link between periodontal disease and heart disease. However, new research indicates that periodontal disease may also increase one’s risk of developing pancreatic cancer, a new discovery that reinforces how important it is to take good care of your gums.

Here’s a closer look at the research from the University of Helsinki, Helsinki University Hospital and the Karolinska Institute.

Bad Bacteria & Pancreatic Cancer

For context, pancreatic cancer is one of the more difficult cancers to treat, largely because it spreads rapidly and extensively before it is caught. Often times, when it is caught, it’s too late for treatment. The median survival time for those with the cancer is only about 3.5 months.

The link between periodontal disease and pancreatic cancer all starts with bad bacteria. Specifically, the research team has discovered that the bacteria that leads to periodontal disease is also thought to play a part in the onset of pancreatic cancer. This same type of bacteria was also found in malignant tumors in the gastrointestinal area.

Researchers say this kind of bacteria activates enzymes, which are then used by cancer cells to take over otherwise healthy tissue. Researchers say they also believe these enzymes keep helpful molecules from helping the immune system.

For more information on the latest research, check out the full findings from the report, which are published in the British Journal of Cancer.

Take Care of Your Mouth

This new study reinforces just how important proper oral care is. It’s why dentists advise patients to brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once per day. Doing so doesn’t just help offset the likelihood of tooth decay, but it also helps remove plaque and food debris from around the gum line, which can irritate the gums and lead to gum disease. Though not necessary, a mouth rinse can also be incorporated into an oral care routine to help eliminate bacteria.

Finally, it’s also important to see the dentist at least twice a year for a professional teeth cleaning. At these appointments, dentists can also assess any areas of concern. If early signs of gum disease are discovered, for instance, the situation is often able to be reversed before it escalates into periodontal disease. There is no cure for periodontal disease, just ways to manage it.

Schedule Regular Dental Appointments

If there’s anything you take away from reading this post, let it be that periodontal disease is bad for the body – not just for the mouth. As part of your oral care routine to prevent periodontal disease, make sure you see your dentist regularly for cleanings and exams.

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