New Study Shows Bacteria from Gum Disease May Promote Oral Cancer

In addition to the usual heart disease that is often linked to gum disease, a new study has recently found out that the bacteria present in gum inflammation may actually trigger the growth of tumors and lesions associated with oral cancer.

The mouth-body connection has been known for a while now and people are becoming increasingly aware of the link between the current state of one’s mouth and one’s overall health — from diabetes to heart disease to premature births. Here at our South Florida dental practice, we regularly remind our patients that their oral health is akin to a window where one can take a glimpse of what’s going on inside the body.

Significant Implications of the Study’s Findings

The researchers of the study found out that two types of bacteria prevalent in gum disease, namely Porphyromonas gingivalis (Pg) and Fusobacterium nucleatum (Fn), produces byproducts in the form of short-chained fatty acids which in turn triggers the proliferation of Kaposi’s sarcoma Herpesvirus (KSHV) and Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) related lesions.

These findings may prove to be very useful for patients with HIV and AIDS as 20 percent of patients diagnosed with the condition often develop KS in the long run. Aside from HIV, KS also tends to develop in patients with compromised immune systems such as the elderly and cancer patients on chemotherapy.

 Here’s an excerpt from the Dental Tribune concerning the study’s methodology and its implications:

“In the study, the researchers assessed the gingival health of 21 patients and studied their saliva samples. Eleven patients (average age of 50) were diagnosed with severe chronic gum disease and ten participants (average age of 26) had healthy gums. Overall, the researchers detected significantly higher levels of short chain fatty acids in the saliva of patients with severe periodontal disease and observed that the fatty acids allowed KSHV to multiply.

In addition, they found that this process inhibited molecules in the body’s immune system from stopping the growth of the virus. 

The researchers believe that this discovery could lead to early saliva testing for the bacteria to enable early treatment and monitoring for signs of cancer in at-risk patients.” 

Your Comprehensive Gum Disease Evaluation in Palm Beach Gardens and neighboring areas

You can potentially save yourself from the likelihood of developing oral cancer through regular assessment and evaluation of your overall gum health by Drs. Lerner and Lemongello here at our practice. By and large, it’s not just your gums that will be evaluated but will also include your teeth, the way you bite, bone structure, your current lifestyle, and risk factors.

Get in touch with us today at our office in Palm Beach, Florida!  Call 561-627-9000 or fill out this contact form to schedule an appointment with us! We look forward to your visit!

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