Charlotte, NC (PRWEB) October 27, 2012
A study at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute may suggest a connection between pancreatic cancer and gum disease, warns Dr. James A. Wells, a well-known dentist in South Charlotte, NC. “We try to keep our patients up-to-date on any new indicators that can help them with preventative health. This study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI, 2007; 99:1-5) indicates the presence of gum disease may be an indicator of pancreatic cancer. The research indicates a possible correlation between gum disease and an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
Gut, a well-known medical journal, published the results. According to the study, one of the bacteria which plays a key role in the development of gum disease is a factor in pancreatic cancer development. Patients in the study who only had non-harmful oral bacteria in their mouths proved 45 percent less likely to develop pancreatic cancer.
Researchers hesitate to say that gum disease leads to pancreatic cancer or vice versa, but they do note a statistically significant correlation. While causation was not proved in this study, the correlation between the two diseases was high. Prior research studies are not inconsistent with these findings.
An alternate conclusion may be that gum disease is a byproduct of pancreatic cancer.
Dominique Michaud, in his writings based on this study, said "This is not an established risk factor. But I feel more confident that something is going on. It's something we need to understand better."
Co-author of the paper, Jacques Izard, agreed with Michaud in his comments, saying "We need to further investigate the importance of bacteria in pancreatic cancer beyond the associated risk."
The stakes for discovering gum disease is either a cause or an effect of pancreatic cancer are high. A majority of patients do not survive pancreatic cancer for more than five years after diagnosis, and pancreatic cancer is responsible for nearly 8,000 deaths a year. Dr. Nigel Carter, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, has given comment on the new findings.
"This research provides further ammunition to the growing belief these two diseases could be related.”
He goes on to say, "There is no escaping the fact poor oral health has some role to play, as a number of studies are now starting to show. What we must remember is oral health is relatively simple to maintain.”
The British Dental Health Foundation’s three key messages - brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste, cutting down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks and visiting the dentist regularly, as often as they recommend - are a great starting point for maintaining good oral health, says Carter.
"If you have swollen gums that bleed regularly when brushing, bad breath, loose teeth or regular mouth infections, it is likely you have gum disease. If any of these symptoms persist, your dentist may be able to help you."
“This is yet another reason that as a dentist I’m on the frontline of prevention for all kinds of health issues,” says Dr. Wells. He adds, “I urge all my patients to come in regularly for check-ups whether they’re experiencing any current difficulties or pain. Let’s stay ahead of the game and practice prevention as often as we can.”
Stay on top of the game by practicing prevention. Call Dr. Wells at South Charlotte Dentistry today at 704-759-0908 or visit the website at http://www.southcharlottedentistry.com.