Colorectal Cancer and Periodontal Disease

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Colorectal CancerColorectal Cancer-What’s periodontal disease got to do with it?

 Remind you of an old song?  But I digress.

 Many of us have friends or relatives who have been diagnosed with this disease.  It’s the reason we are encouraged to have regular colonoscopies. With early detection the cure rate is very promising.  But what you may not know is that the bacteria in your mouth may also make a difference in your survival rate.

A new study out of Harvard found that when a certain bacteria (F. nucleatum for the microbiology folks) was present, it was associated with a shorter survival rate.  A significant factor in periodontal disease is this one and the same bacteria.  It is commonly found throughout the digestive system.   

This bacteria has the distinction of promoting the growth of cancer cells and also attacking the immune system’s normal response to blocking cancer-a double whammy if you will!

The question still remains as to whether the presence of this bacteria is a causative factor for colorectal cancer.  But it’s certainly appears to be  a possibility that will no doubt be studied further.  Just as importantly, since we know this disease is treatable, let’s make sure we address any area that will help us to fight if we are handed a diagnosis of cancer.  Clearly, keeping our oral cavity as free of harmful bacteria as possible will give us the edge we will need to reach our goal of being cured. 

Doesn’t  this news just make you run for your toothbrush and floss and your regular dental checkups take on even more importance.  Yes, a sparkly smile is nice but a clean mouth may be life saving.