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The Link Between Gum Disease and Colon Cancer

Gum disease increases the risk of colon cancer.

According to research published on Cancer Prevention Research, people with periodontitis have a 17% higher risk of developing polyps and 11% risk of having adenomas, compared to people without gum diseases.

Adenomas and polyps are intestinal lesions and precursors to the 4th most common cancer in the United States: colon cancer. When the lesions are removed, they decrease the risk of colon cancer. Colon cancer leads to 50,000 deaths annually in the United States.

Periodontitis is a serious type of periodontal disease. Forty-seven percent of Americans have periodontal disease, while 8.5% have periodontitis. The number of teeth lost influences the likelihood of the development of cancer.

People who have one to three missing teeth have a 28% risk of having adenomas. On the other hand, those who have lost four or more teeth have a 20% more chance of developing serrated polyps and, 36% increased risk of having adenomas.

According to a study conducted by Mingyang, MD, an assistant professor at Havard T.H. Chan School of Public Health together with his colleagues, people who have lost a higher number of teeth or suffer from periodontal disease have a higher risk of colon cancer.

Mingyang explains, “Having ever been diagnosed with periodontal disease puts a person at risk of colorectal cancer precursor lesions, some of which may eventually lead to colorectal cancer.”

One hypothesis explains that the soreness that patients experience as a result of periodontal contributes to the development of colon cancer. Besides, the bacteria that develops in the gums and mouth are also a risk factor.

Researchers explain how pathogenic bacteria from the mouth travel to major organs in the body, such as the colon. According to research conducted at NYU Langone, Aggregatibacteractinomycetemcomitans and Porphyromonasgingivalisoral bacteria increase the risk of pancreatic cancer.

However, scientists need to conduct more research on the link between poor oral health and colon cancer.

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