A new study conducted by researchers at Queens University Belfast in Ireland has linked poor oral health to liver cancer. Liver cancer joins a growing list of potentially fatal illnesses recently tied to poor oral health, including Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.
Researchers believe the link has to do with the bacteria in the oral and gut biome, while others hypothesize it may be due to a poor diet, possibly caused by people who are missing teeth due to poor oral health eating only soft foods.
The study used oral health data from 469,628 participants. Of those patients, 4,069 developed gastrointestinal cancer in the six years following the study’s end. Among those who did develop cancer, about 13 percent were recorded as having poor oral health. The demographic who most frequently appeared as having poor oral health were younger women living in impoverished areas. This statistic comes as somewhat of a surprise, as we don’t always associate liver cancer with younger women.
Though the link is not yet clear, researchers have pledged to investigate the connection further. In the meantime, the study highlights the importance of taking excellent care of your oral health. Here’s how simple it can really be to prevent potentially fatal illness, right from your bathroom sink!
Brush Your Teeth
We already know the cosmetic reasons for brushing our teeth. They lose that gritty feeling, they appear whiter and brighter, and your breath smells better. Healthwise, you reduce your risk of developing cavities or dental caries, and you reduce your risk of developing gum disease. Brushing for just two minutes twice a day can do all that for you - but it can also help prevent many illnesses we know about, and maybe even some we don’t.
Flossing and brushing go hand in hand. Don’t think of flossing as just something you do when you have something stuck between your teeth, because in reality you always have something stuck in your teeth. Think of flossing as brushing between the teeth by reaching plaque, food and bacteria on 30 percent of the surface of the teeth.
Get to the Dentist
Don’t skip your annual or bi-annual dental checkup. Your dentist will not only scrape away the tartar built up on your teeth that causes it to discolor, but he or she will also check your oral health to make sure you are free of cavities, gum disease and more.
These simple steps may help prevent everything from stroke to liver cancer. To schedule your checkup and help prevent illness, contact Dr. Abelar’s office today at (858) 866-9692.
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