The Link Between Gum Disease and Cancer

There is a dangerous link between gum disease and the development of some cancers, and the risk of cancer-related death. Researchers from the University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, both in Finland, along with scientists from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, have shown that the bacteria linked to gum disease may also be linked to certain cancers.

Researchers found that Treponema denticola and some gastrointestinal cancers, such as pancreatic cancer, share an enzyme: Treponema denticola chymotrypsin-like proteinase (Td-CTLP). Researchers identified this enzyme in certain cancerous tumors. Moreover, this enzyme is typically linked to periodontal disease.

Next, the researchers investigated the molecular mechanisms at play that might explain the link between the bacterium responsible for periodontitis and the development of cancer tumors elsewhere in the body.

Researchers further found that Td-CTLP can activate other enzymes, pro-MMP-8 and pro-MMP-9, which cancer cells use to spread to previously healthy cells. Further, these enzymes were found to hamper the immune system. Put simply, an oral infection, such as periodontitis can have severe overall health ramifications.

Additionally, another team of researchers conducted a parallel study, which investigated the link between the incidence of periodontitis the rates of cancer-related mortality.

The subject studies demonstrate that virulence factors of underlying gum disease’s bacteria can spread from the mouth to other parts of the body, and partake in tissue destruction related to cancer.

Infections and inflammation go hand in hand and there is a historically well-studied link between inflammation and cancer.

Pay attention to your overall health by paying attention to your oral health.

Call our office today at 818-584-1841 for a consultation to review your oral health to maximize your overall health.