Is There A Link Between Pancreatic Cancer And Oral Health?

27 July 2016
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


According to research, there seems to be a link between the oral/mouth bacteria and patients with the risk of pancreatic cancer. Within six months of diagnosis, a patient can be dead from pancreatic cancer. Over 40,000 deaths occur in the United States annually, which is about 3% of all cancers and approximately 7% of patients who die from cancer. Many of the risk factors are the same for pancreatic cancer and gum disease.

The Proof

A study was performed including 416 individuals without pancreatic cancer and 405 with the disease. Blood tests were given to measure 25 different forms of bacteria. It seems the high antibody levels against Porphyromonas gingivalis weren't caused by pancreatic cancer.

 A direct link was shown because the Porphyromonas gingivalis were evident prior to the patient having cancer. This is a direct link between the two issues of cancer and poor oral health practices. The research also indicated a 45% risk reduction of developing cancer if the patient had high antibody levels compared to the risky oral bacteria.

Other evidence was gathered from 1986 until 2002 of 216 cases of cancer; with 67 of those also indicated periodontal disease. The high levels of carcinogenic compounds are evident in individuals with periodontal disease and risk of the cancer. Carcinogens come from exposure and substances that can lead to cancer. Below are some likely comparisons.

Pancreatic Cancer Risk Factors

  • Tobacco use: Approximately 20%-30% of the cases are created by cigarette or cigar smoking as well as smokeless tobacco products.
  • Diet Factors: Some studies have shown diets low in fruits and vegetables place the patient at risk.
  • Alcohol Usage: Some studies aren't certain, but it seems heavy alcohol usage can cause problems, including cirrhosis or chronic pancreatitis.

As you see, these are similar to some of the issues caused by poor oral health care.

Good Oral Health Care

  • Brush twice daily
  • Floss daily
  • Brush at a 45 ° angle
  • Limit snacks and eat a balanced diet
  • Use Fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash (if advised by the dentist)

Understanding the link between pancreatic cancer and oral health are still under study, but all indicators are pointing to the association of the two issues. Unfortunately, approximately 1.5% of Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and of that amount, only 5% will survive much longer than five years. If scientists can link the two other than with risk factors, it might be possible to prevent the cancer. Contact a professional like John C. Matunas D.D.S., PA for more information.