A new study found those patients who had certain mouth bacteria and lack of mouth bacterial diversity had a higher risk of developing pre-cancerous stomach lesions. These lesions could develop into cancer. This finding offers more evidence that periodontal disease could contribute to the development of not only other diseases but specifically stomach cancer.
Other risks of stomach cancer already discovered include Heliobacter pylori (also linked to stomach ulcers), smoking cigarettes and consuming preserved meats. This study precluded those risk factors and focused on bacteria levels and oral health.
The study gave 105 individuals an upper endoscopy. Thirty five from this group had pre-cancerous lesions. This group was then compared to 70 people of the same age, who did not have pre-cancerous lesions. After studying these two groups, and controlling for oral health habits, demographics and periodontal assessments, three factors emerged which predicted pre-cancerous lesions. The three factors include:
1. Higher than normal levels of 3 bacteria (Tannerella forsythia, T denticola and A actinomycetemcomitans)
2. Lower levels bacterial diversity in dental plaque
3. The people did not floss regularly.
More studies need to be conducted to confirm these finding. If this study is correct, it can lead to both a possible treatment and can be used as cancer-risk predictive tool.
The bottom line: keeping your teeth and gums healthy not only prevents cavities, but may also reduce your risk of disease.