Oral Bacteria Linked to Pancreatic Cancer

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Oral bacteria linked to pancreatic cancer

      Growing evidence shows that the presence of certain bacteria in the mouth may reveal increased risk for pancreatic cancer, and earlier, more precise treatment.  Pancreatic cancer patients are known to be susceptible to gum disease, cavities, and poor oral health in general, say the study authors. That vulnerability led the research team to search for direct links between the makeup of bacteria driving oral disease and subsequent development of pancreatic cancer.  A disease that is difficult to detect, and kills most patients within six months of diagnosis.  Pancreatic cancer is responsible for 40,000 deaths a year in the U.S.

      According to a recent study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, men with a history of gum (periodontal) disease could be at increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer.  The purpose of the study was to determine if gum disease or tooth loss may be related to pancreatic cancer. After adjusting for age, smoking history, diabetes, obesity, diet and other potential contributors to pancreatic cancer, the reviewers found that men with a history of gum disease had a 64 percent increased risk of pancreatic cancer than men without a history of gum disease.

     Nobody knows why gum disease may be linked to pancreatic cancer. Although the study showed an association between gum disease and pancreatic cancer, a definite cause and effect relationship was not established. Researchers speculate that chronic infection in the gums triggers inflammation throughout the body, which can potentially promote the growth of cancer.

    Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that support the teeth.  It attacks just below the gum line, where it causes the attachment of the tooth and it’s supporting tissues to break down.  Periodontal risk factors include tobacco smoking or chewing, diseases such as diabetes, some medications, dental work that no longer fits properly, defective fillings, pregnancy or use of oral contraceptives.

     Except in most cases, the risk of periodontal disease can be controlled with good dental habits:  brushing and flossing your teeth, and regular visits to your dentist.  So, don’t delay, call your dentist today and schedule an appointment for a check-up!  

     Let us help keep your smile and your health at it’s best!

 

Your Gentle Dentists,

 

Dr. Simmons

Flossing

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FLOSSING

      We often get asked questions such as how often should I floss, is flossing necessary, and what teeth should I floss?  The response used by dentists the world over, " you should only floss the teeth you want to keep!"  You see, next to brushing, flossing is the most important thing that you can do to ensure good oral health.

     The purpose of both brushing and flossing is to reduce the number of bacteria which inhabit our mouths.  Normally, millions of these microscopic monsters call your mouth home, feeding on food particles left on our teeth.  Ungrateful guests, these bacteria produce acid as a result of their feasting and it is  this acid which eats into tooth enamel creating cavities.  If this wasn't bad enough, the bacteria also pour out volatile sulfur compounds creating embarrassing bad breath.

     If you do not floss and allow plaque (a mesh of mucus and debris known as plaque) to remain in between teeth, it eventually hardens into a substance known as tartar.  Unlike plaque which can be removed with brushing, tartar can only be removed by your dentist.  Over time, levels of more dangerous types of bacteria build up within tartar.  Mean and vengeful, these bacteria produce toxins which irritate and inflame  the gums; a condition called gingivitis.  Gingivitis if left untreated can progress to periodontal disease - where bacteria and toxins invade not only the gums, but also the bones and structures supporting the teeth.  This can ultimately lead to bone loss, loose teeth, and teeth which fall out.  From here the bacteria can travel through the body increasing the chances of heart attack or stroke!  So yes, FLOSSING IS ESSENTIAL TO GOOD DENTAL HEALTH! 

      So give us a call and set up an appointment. Don't take your good dental health for granted. To get your teeth cleaned call us at (661) 947-3163

 

Dr. Simmons – Your Gentle Dentists