Your pancreas plays a pivotal role in your digestive system. It releases digestive juices into your small intestine, helping your body to process food in the proper way. It also produces insulin, which helps keep your system’s blood glucose levels within a healthy range. Unfortunately, if you have poor oral health, this precious organ may be at risk! Your Vero Beach dentist is here to discuss the startling connection between gum disease and pancreatic cancer.
Research Reveals the Link
In 2007, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health found a strong correlation between periodontitis (the advanced form of gum disease) and pancreatic cancer. Their follow-up study, which involved looking at data from more than 51,000 men, discovered that the people with periodontitis were 64 percent more likely to have this form of cancer than those who had never suffered from gum disease.
What is the reason behind this strong correlation? The minds behind the research believe it may have to do with carcinogenic compounds (cancer-causing substances) that accumulate in the mouth when a person has periodontitis. These compounds may react with digestive juices in a way that increases the risk of pancreatic cancer.
The Good News for Gum Disease Sufferers
While there is no denying the correlation between periodontitis and pancreatic cancer, correlation does not always mean causation — that is to say, researchers have not confirmed that gum disease actually causes the cancer. In fact, it might even be the other way around. They’ll have to further investigate the subject before they come to any conclusions.
It’s also worth mentioning that only periodontitis, not gingivitis (the early form of gum disease) has a connection to pancreatic cancer. That means that if your gums are just now beginning to suffer, you can reverse the condition and maybe even protect your pancreas while you’re at it. Also, other oral health problems, such as tooth decay, weren’t found to have any correlation with pancreatic cancer.
The Importance of Oral Hygiene
We don’t know if gum disease causes pancreatic cancer, but we do know that protecting your oral health is vital for safeguarding the rest of your body from other serious conditions. Plus, having a clean and fresh mouth feels great and can contribute to your everyday quality of life.
You may be able to prevent gingivitis and periodontitis by brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist regularly. Biannual dental visits are particularly important because a professional might be able to spot gum disease before you begin to notice the symptoms. Catching it early on makes for simpler and less expensive treatment.
Your dentist in Vero Beach wants you to have a healthy mouth and a healthy body. Why not schedule your next checkup soon?
About Vero Implant and Esthetic Dentistry
The two doctors in our practice, along with the rest of their team, take your oral health seriously. If you suspect you have gingivitis or periodontitis, or if it’s just time for your next cleaning, please get in touch with us! You can contact our office at 772-234-5353.