It has been well established that gum disease links many health conditions such as strokes, heart disease, diabetes and pneumonia. But now, there is also a proven link between gum disease and liver cancer. A study conducted in the U.K. found that patients with gum disease had a 75% higher risk of developing liver cancer. GI cancers account for 28% of new cancer cases and 37% of deaths from cancer in 2018.
Gum disease is an inflammation/ infection of the gums, bone and supporting structures of the teeth, such as the ligaments. Gum disease begins with gingivitis. Gum disease results in red, puffy gums that are more prone to bleeding while brushing and flossing. If left to progress, gingivitis can worsen into periodontitis, which affects the level of the bone around the teeth. Symptoms of periodontitis are red, puffy gums, gum recession and mobile teeth. Gum disease is caused by bacterial buildup on the teeth and gums.
A total of 469 628 patients were studied throughout England, Scotland and Whales, aged 40-69 between 2006-2010 with a six-year follow-up. 4069 had developed gastrointestinal cancer by the six years follow-up. Of those with cancer, 13% had some form of gum disease. The results of the study found no link between oral health and gastrointestinal cancer, but there seems to be a link between oral health and liver cancer.
The answer to the link between oral health and liver cancer might lie in gut bacteria. The liver’s function is to break down and eliminate bacteria from the body. If the liver has cancer, it might be more difficult to eliminate bacteria, increasing longer-lasting bacteria. In addition, a specific type of bacteria is found orally that may have a link to the liver. The connection between gum disease and liver cancer has been proven, but more information must be gathered to understand why.
It is vital to keep your teeth and gums healthy to maintain your oral health and overall health. Contact us to schedule your visit today.