Oral care is also very important, as poor oral hygiene is linked to chronic disease and it can increase the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) by 75%. According to a study. “Poor Oral Hygiene is Linked to Chronic diseases, like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes“, explained Dr. Haydee WT Jordao, lead author of the study.
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The above study is published in ‘United European Gastroenterology Journal‘, and it was analyzed by a large cohort of over 469,000 people in the United Kingdom, investigated the link between oral health conditions and the risk of gastrointestinal cancers, which include liver, colon, rectum and pancreatic cancer.
Models were applied to evaluate the relationship between self-reported oral health conditions and cancer risks, like painful or mouth ulcers, bleeding gums, and loose teeth. while no significant associations were observed on the risk of gastrointestinal cancers and poor oral health, but a substantial link was found for hepatobiliary cancer.
“There is inconsistent evidence on the association between poor oral health and specific types of gastrointestinal cancers, which is what our research aimed to examine,” said Dr. Jordao.
On the average follow up of six-year of 469,628 participants, 4,069 developed gastrointestinal cancer. In 13 percent of these cases, patients reported poor oral health. Participants with poor oral health were more likely to be female, younger, living in deprived socioeconomic areas and consumed less than two portions of vegetables and fruit per day.
Currently, it is uncertain that, poor oral health can be more strongly linked with liver cancer, rather than other digestive cancers. One explanation is the potential role of the oral and gut microbiome in disease development.
“The liver contributes to the elimination of bacteria from the human body”, stated Dr. Jordao.
“When the liver is affected by diseases, such as hepatitis, cirrhosis or cancer, its function will decline and bacteria will survive for longer and therefore have the potential to cause more harm. One bacteria, Fusobacterium nucleatum, originates in the oral cavity but its role in liver cancer is unclear. Further studies investigating the microbiome and liver cancer are therefore warranted,” said Dr. Jordao.
Another theory explaining the higher cancer risk due to poor oral health suggested that participants with a high number of missing teeth may alter their diet, consuming softer and potentially less nutritious foods, which in turn influence the risk of liver cancer.
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