Oral pathogens can make their way to distant parts of your anatomy and cause serious problems.
|Scooped by Graham Player Ph.D.|
Our mouth is a host to different types of bacteria and viruses, some of which have the ability to pass from our gums to the bloodstream and into our heart. Other viruses and bacteria in our mouth are linked to the cause of certain cancers.
Gingivitis (inflammation of the gum tissue), dental plaque, and dental interventions, such as root canals and cavitations following tooth extractions, can be the breeding ground for pathogenic microorganisms and their toxins that can circulate in the blood causing infections and chronic inflammation throughout the body.
A study published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research reports that “Poor oral health, which includes dental problems and gum disease, is an independent risk factor for oral HPV [human papillomavirus] infection, and by extension, could also contribute to oral cancers." In this study, participants with poor oral health had a 56 percent higher rate of HPV infection than those with healthy mouths. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that about 60 percent of oropharyngeal cancers are related to HPV, but according to the latest study, it could be as high as 80 percent.
Viruses are estimated to cause 15 to 20 percent of all cancers. Most viral infections do not lead to tumor formation as several factors influence the progression from viral infection to cancer development. Some of these factors include the host's genetic makeup, mutation occurrence, exposure to cancer causing agents, and immune impairment. Viruses typically initiate cancer development by suppressing the host's immune system, causing inflammation over a long period of time, or by altering host genes.
Recent studies have linked the anaerobic bacterium, Fusobacterium nucleatum, found in dental plaque with cancer. Case Western Reserve University researchers found that some malignant colorectal tumors are caused by F. nucleatum. Harvard researchers also established a link between F. nucleatum and the initiation of colorectal tumors.
The common link to cancer and a variety of health problems is chronic inflammation in your body. This can originate in the mouth or elsewhere and be caused by poor hygiene, viruses, bacteria and many other factors.