Gum infections can actually harm more than just your mouth. In fact, a new study out of the journal Cancer Research says that these infections can actually increase your risk of developing stomach cancer.
According to Reuters, the study says that gum infections can cause sores in the digestive tract, ultimately leading to cancer. Periodontal disease is the main term used for the infections and gum and bone damage that can produce these sores. It’s a terrifying truth, but for many Americans, the disease is actually a reality. In fact, 74% of Americans are diagnosed with some form of periodontal disease.
To prevent periodontal disease, dentists recommend you follow through with your daily dental routine. This includes brushing well, flossing, and rinsing. Taking care of your teeth is not just crucial for giving you a good smile. Doing so can also help to prevent any further problems outside of your mouth.
The study looked at 35 people with precancerous lesions and 70 people without. It found that 32% of people with the lesions had dental bleeding, which is a sign of periodontal disease. It also found that only 22% of people without the lesions had that bleeding. Those with the lesions were also found to have high levels of bacteria in their mouths, which can signify the disease.
Yihong Li, a researcher at the New York University College of Dentistry in New York City and a senior study author spoke about the findings.
“These bacteria are commonly found in periodontal pockets and are invasive because they can produce a variety of molecules that can cause damage to host tissue as well as host responses to bacterial colonization, therefore contributing to cancer development,” Li said.
It’s important to note that the study wasn’t intended to prove how or whether any oral health problems can cause cancer. It was done to prove that it can contribute to the cause of cancer. Not all precancerous cells or lesions end up being cancerous.
Finding out which bacteria you have in your mouth can help determine if you’re on the road to potentially serious conditions, or if you’re in the clear.