Further cementing the connection between dental hygiene and potentially life-threatening illnesses, researchers from Brown University recently released results from a study they had been conducting on the role of oral-based antibodies and the development of pancreatic cancer. Their conclusion, soon to be published in the gastrointestinal medicine journal Gut, is that there is a distinct link between the body's ability to react to common organisms in the mouth and tumor growth.
The group of scientists looked at the biological markers created by white blood cells as they combated the gingivitis-attacking bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis. The antibodies created in the process signaled an inherent weakness to the development of pancreatic cancer, suggesting that oral decay, at least in part, plays a role in the body's resistance to the condition. However, the authors conceded that these results are only preliminary and require further investigation to see if they are valid.
"This is not an established risk factor," Dominique Michaud, one of the scientists behind the study, said in a statement. "But I feel more confident that there is something going on. It's something we need to understand better."
Further efforts, according to an article published by industry source Health24, will focus on identifying which other risk factors, including diabetes, smoking and obesity, contribute to what is known as carcinogenesis. By discerning how each of these categories impact the body's immune response, researchers could theoretically determine how susceptible a person is to cancer based on their dental well-being.
The risks identified by the Brown University team highlights the need to practice solid oral hygiene by brushing, flossing and rinsing regularly. Additionally, those who fear they may be at risk should get regular check-ups from an affordable dental care professional who knows the best ways to keep a person's smile looking bright.