Everyone knows that regular brushing and flossing is important to preventing cavities, but did you know that good dental hygiene goes far beyond your teeth? A new study linking poor oral hygiene to pancreatic cancer risk is just another study in a long line of research that highlights the importance of better dental care.
Study Links Poor Oral Hygiene to Cancer
Pancreatic cancer is a very serious issue in modern healthcare. According to Dr. Robert Mocharnuk, associate professor at the SIU School of Medicine, it only accounts for 1.5 percent of all cancers, but has a very high mortality rate. And according to one study, a certain bacteria found in the mouth could indicate a higher risk for developing pancreatic cancer.
Specifically, the 10-year study looked at more than 350 individuals before they developed pancreatic cancer and compared their dental hygiene records to a control group of individuals that did not develop the disease.
What researchers discovered is that the disease causing pancreatic cancer may actually originate in bacteria in the mouth. This is the first time the medical community has been able to draw a direct connection between gingivitis bacteria and such a serious disease.
“It suggested that the bacteria was present 100 times more often in the mouths than patients who develop pancreatic cancer and the other a little over 50 percent more often,” Dr. Mocharnuk says.
3 More Negative Connections
While this new study is certainly alarming, it’s not the only scientific research to suggest that poor oral hygiene does more than cause cavities.
Let’s take a look at some of the other possible connections:
With so many children and their families investing in braces to correct crooked smiles, it’s imperative that people understand the importance of good oral hygiene.
“Optimal tooth movement is achieved with light continuous force applied to teeth,” Dr. William Crutchfield explains. “The accumulation of sticky plaque caused by poor brushing will cause the plaque to adhere to the braces and wires. The friction from the plaque actually reduces the efficiency we work so hard to achieve for your smile.”
In other words, the less children (and adults, for that matter) brush their teeth, the longer braces have to stay on. While not nearly as detrimental as pancreatic cancer or other diseases, this is a nuisance, nonetheless.
Everyone knows that you’re supposed to brush two or three times per day, but most people don’t take enough time to brush the proper way. It’s not just about scrubbing those pearly whites. Dentists suggest brushing your gums as well. In fact, those who don’t brush their gums on a regular basis are at an increased risk of developing gingivitis, which causes inflammation and bleeding.
3. Increased Hypertension
A 2015 study from Korean researchers suggests that poor dental hygiene habits may lead to increased hypertension. Specifically, the study looked at nearly 20,000 individuals and found that hypertension was diagnosed in 5,921 participants. Among the test subjects, frequent tooth brushing was directly correlated to a decreased prevalence of hypertension and high blood pressure.
“Literature continues to support the idea that what affects a person’s mouth can affect his or her body and vice versa. Taking care of your teeth and gums is as essential to a healthy lifestyle as diet and exercise,” says Dr. Joan Otomo-Corgel, president of the American Academy of Periodontology.
Prioritize Dental Hygiene
These are just a few a few of the connections between poor dental hygiene and bad health. The moral of the story is that people need to make dental hygiene and oral healthcare a bigger priority in their lives.
Countless studies prove the importance of taking care of your mouth…it’s time to listen!
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