Gum disease gives warning to pancreatic cancer in recent study

Published: August, 2016

Still another reason to see your dentist about possible gum disease: the check-up may protect you from pancreatic cancer. Research reported in the June 28, 2016, Journal of the American Medical Association found that people with high levels of a specific oral bacterium are more likely to get this type of cancer, which strikes more than 50,000 people annually.

Researchers compared saliva samples from 361 people who later developed pancreatic cancer with 371 samples from healthy subjects. They found that those with high levels of Porphyromonas gingivalis had a 59% greater risk of developing pancreatic cancer. P. gingivalis is one of the most common harmful oral bacteria and is strongly linked to periodontitis—a gum infection that damages the soft tissue and bone that supports teeth.

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