Gum Disease and Colon Cancer: You bet your colon there’s a link!

Embroidery "I Love Your Guts"

“Among people with colorectal cancer, there were higher numbers of Fusobacteria and Porphyromonas bacteria than in patients who didn’t have the disease.  Fusobacteria and Porphyromonas, which are prevalent in both the mouth and gut, are associated with inflammation of the digestive tract as well as periodontal disease.” (From Research Points to Potential New Ways to Prevent Colon Cancer.)

The other morning, I came across this above news article discussing a research study on colon cancer and it’s relationship to the bacteria we have in our gut. As I read on, the article turned out to not only be talking about (good and bad) bacteria in the gut, but it’s critical link to bacteria in the mouth!

The Research: Mouth-Gut Infection Connection

The 2012 research study that this news article is based off of was fascinating! It is known that gum disease and periodontitis (infection and inflammation of the gums) gets into the blood stream and is linked to a wide spread system-wide inflammation and effects. It also triggers very aggressive local signs and symptoms in the mouth of disease and uses the body’s immune system to fight the disease. (Sore gums, anyone?!)

This study looked into the relationship between certain markers of inflammation in the mouth that only are there to fight bad mouth bacteria (serum IgG markers for bacteria P. gingivalis) and whether or not a person had a cancer of the orodigestive system (oro = mouth and digestive=anywhere along the tubes from your mouth to the toilet), and also if they got better or died from the cancer.

The result of the study was bold and significant conclusions that moderate and severe periodontitis (gum disease) is not only associated with increased mouth-digestive cancers and bad cancer outcomes, but that the worse the gum disease (periodontitis) is, the likelihood of bad outcomes increases.

Here is a link to an abstract of the study: Periodontal disease, Porphyromonas gingivalis serum antibody levels and orodigestive cancer mortality


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