Researchers is US have found that people with gastric or Stomach and esophageal cancer have either Periodontal Disease or have had previous history of tooth loss due to loosening of teeth (Periodontitis). It was earlier reported that the two Periodontal or Gum disease and Gut cancers may be inter-related but the findings were termed inconclusive, but with this study there is ample data to link the two conditions.
The Research has been a very prolonged one with almost 3 – 4 decades of data being analyzed by a team of researchers from Harvard lead by T.H Chan from School of Public Health, in Boston, USA. In the study which included 199 cases of Esophageal cancer patients and 238 cases of Gastric cancer. The total examined patients with a history of periodontal disease and tooth loss were 98,549 women from the Nurses Heath Study (1992-2014 and 49,685 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1988-2016). Dental and Medical records were reviewed and cross checking using follow-up questionnaires were done.
Based on the Study the Authors found evidence that the pathogens – Tannerella Forsythia and Porphyromonas gingivalis were associated with the presence and could be the reason for increased risk of esophageal cancer. These pathogens are the members of the ‘red complex‘ of Periodontal pathogens.
After checking all the above data it was concluded that:
Patients with History of Periodontal Disease: showed 43% and 52% increased risk of esophageal cancer and gastric cancer.
Patients with loss of 2 or more teeth due to Periodontitis showed that the risk of esophageal and gastric cancer were higher by 42% and 33% respectively. in comparison to patients with no tooth loss.
Patients with Periodontitis having lost no teeth or loss of one or more teeth showed equal incidence of 59% increased risk of esophageal cancer and 50%-68% greater risk of gastric cancer in comparison to people without any Periodontal disease.
For the increase incidence and relationship between Periodontal disease and Gut cancers can be – Bad oral hygiene and periodontal disease is known to promote formation of Endogenous nitrosamines which are known to help in growth of nitrate-producing bacteria which are known to cause gastric cancers.
The Scientists / Researchers conclude that: “Together, these data support the importance of oral microbiome in esophageal and gastric cancer. Further prospective studies that directly assess oral microbiome are warranted to identify specific oral bacteria responsible for this relationship. The additional findings may serve as readily accessible, non-invasive biomarkers and help identify individuals at high risk for these cancers.”
It should also be noted that this was an observational study and more research is needed. The scientists mentioned that there can be other risk factors which can play a role in the Cancers along with the above mentioned factors.