Are Oral Bacteria Linked To Stomach Cancer?

It seems that oral cancer is not the only kind of cancer associated with oral health. A study showed a link between oral bacteria and the occurrence of stomach cancer.

Oral Bacteria and Stomach Cancer: The Connection

In a research by the New York University College of Dentistry and New York University School of Medicine, it was found that higher pathogen adherence and initial multiplication and the absence of diversity of bacteria in the mouth could lead to stomach cancer in people with precancerous lesions.

The study, whose findings were published in the Journal of Periodontology, examined 105 individuals who were set to have an esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD and histopathology. After the procedures, precancerous lesions of stomach cancer were found in 35 individuals. Meanwhile, no precancerous lesions were diagnosed in the remaining 70 people.

Researchers subjected the participants to an oral examination to analyze the conditions of their gums. They then gathered samples of dental plaque and salvia to examine the colonization of P. gingivalis, T. denticola, T. forsythia, and A. actinomycetemcomitans pathogens and to describe the diversity of oral microbes.

Participants with precancerous lesions had 31.5 percent incidence of bleeding when probed, higher by almost ten percent in comparison with the control group with 22.4 percent. The experimental group also had higher levels of T. denticola and A. actinomycetemcomitans pathogens and lesser bacterial diversity in their saliva.

The researchers deduced higher adherence and multiplication of pathogens T. forsythia, T. denticola, and A. actinomycetemcomitans, lessened bacterial diversity in the plaque, and irregular flossing as significant factors that contribute to a higher likelihood of fostering precancerous stomach lesions.

Grounded on the findings of the study, Dr. Yihong Li, NYU Dentistry professor and the corresponding author of the research, recommended the inclusion of remedy for chronic gum disease and regulation of pathogen infections in the gums in potential strategies for the prevention of gastric cancer.

More About Stomach Cancer

Until the late 1930s, stomach cancer led the list of cancer death in the United States. Despite its decline, thousands of cases are still prevalent in the country. Moreover, it mostly affect the older population age 65 or older.

In 2018, the American Cancer Society predicted about 26,240 diagnosis of stomach cancer and about 10,800 deaths from stomach cancer.

Stomach or gastric cancer happens slowly over many years, usually beginning in the inner lining of the stomach where cancer cells develop into a tumor.

The exact cause of gastric cancer remains unknown, but scientists have identified infection with common bacteria H. pylori, gastritis, pernicious anemia, and polyps as raising the risk for the disease. Other risk factors include smoking, smoked, pickled, or salty diet, specific genes, being overweight or obese, and exposure to asbestos, among others.

People with stomach cancer may experience the following symptoms:

  • Frequent indigestion and heartburn
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Blood in the stool
  • Swelling in the stomach
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Yellowish eyes or skin

Depending on the span you had the disease, and the stage of cancer, treatments to fight gastric cancer include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Chemoradiation
  • Targeted drugs

Apart from taking care of your oral health, you can prevent stomach cancer by:

  • Treating stomach infections with antibiotics or other drugs
  • Choose to eat healthy
  • Stopping the use of tobacco
  • Being wary of the medications you use for other diseases or conditions

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