Two new studies reveal that there may be an association between gum disease, the microbial environment of the mouth, and cancers of the stomach and esophagus.
In the latest issue of the journal Gut (BMJ), American scientists discovered a link between gum disease and cancers of the stomach and esophagus . Meanwhile, a Harvard University study found that brushing your teeth regularly could help prevent stomach cancer.
A link between bacteria in the mouth and cancer
To arrive at this hypothesis, researchers from work published in the journal “Gut” examined the association of a history of periodontal disease and tooth loss with the risk of esophageal and gastric adenocarcinoma in 98,459 women (1992-2014). and 49,685 males (1988–2016).
For all participants, a history of gum disease, periodontal disease and tooth loss was recorded, and an association with risk of esophageal and stomach cancer was analyzed. Dental problems, lifestyle, diet and other demographic parameters and were also noted in the works.
Over the 22 to 28 year follow-up of each of the thousands of participants, the team found that there were a total of 199 cases of esophageal adenocarcinoma and 238 cases of gastric or gastric adenocarcinoma.
However, for those who had tooth loss and / or gum disease , the risk of esophageal and gastric adenocarcinoma was greatly increased ( people with a history of gum disease or who had lost at least one tooth were at risk 59 % higher to contract adenocarcinoma of the esophagus, editor’s note ).
On the Harvard study side , research found that gum disease increased the risk of throat and stomach cancer by 50% , with the risk being even higher in those who had previously lost teeth. .
Cancer of the stomach, esophagus : poor oral hygiene increases the risks
Taking these different results into account, the researchers noticed that poor oral hygiene could promote the formation of bacteria known to cause several cancers, including that of the stomach .
But the good news is that you only need to brush your teeth at least twice a day, for two minutes each time, to prevent the growth of bacteria – and therefore the appearance of disease.
The study therefore concluded that “these data support the importance of the oral microbiome in the face of cancer of the esophagus or stomach
They called for further studies to “directly assess the oral microbiome” and ” identify the specific oral bacteria responsible for this relationship.” These bacteria could indeed be “biomarkers” of these cancers.
Ultimately, it is very likely that this research will lead to new prevention strategies based on the microbiome and aimed at detecting these types of cancers upstream .