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Could improving your dental hygiene reduce your risk for esophageal cancer? Considering that research has tied the bacteria associated with gum disease to cases of throat cancer, it’s definitely worth the extra effort.
Researchers tested tissue samples from 100 patients with squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and 30 normal controls, and discovered that 61 percent of patients with ESCC harbored the gingivitis-causing bacteria in their systems.
“These findings provide the first direct evidence that P. gingivalis infection could be a novel risk factor for ESCC, and may also serve as a prognostic biomarker for this type of cancer,” said Huizhi Wang, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of oral immunology and infectious diseases at the UofL School of Dentistry. “These data, if confirmed, indicate that eradication of a common oral pathogen may contribute to a reduction in the significant number of people suffering with ESCC.”
Wang and the other researchers weren’t clear if ESCC cells somehow favored P. gingivalis to thrive or if the infection of P. gingivalis facilitates the actual development of esophageal cancer.
If the former is true, Wang says simple antibiotics may prove useful or researchers can develop other therapeutic approaches for esophageal cancer utilizing genetic technology to target the P. gingivalis and ultimately destroy the cancer cells.
“Should P. gingivalis prove to cause ESCC, the implications are enormous,” Wang said. “It would suggest that improving oral hygiene may reduce ESCC risk; screening for P. gingivalis in dental plaque may identify susceptible subjects; and using antibiotics or other anti-bacterial strategies may prevent ESCC progression.”
Natural ways to prevent esophageal cancer
Though the researcher cites antibiotic use as a potential anti-cancer therapy, we know antibiotic therapy has its own drawbacks. The first and most sensible step would be to improve habits that could protect you from gum disease such as brushing your teeth after every meal, flossing at least once a day, and swishing your mouth with mouthwash.
In addition there are vitamins and supplements, recommended here by Dr. Isaac Eliaz, that can protect the health of your mouth:
Probiotics: Research continues to highlight the extensive roles probiotics play in supporting and maintaining numerous areas of health beyond digestion alone. In the case of dental health, a number of probiotic strains are shown in published research to support healthy oral bacteria and fight throat and respiratory infections. A strain called BLIS K12 (Streptococcus salivarius) is a key component of a healthy oral bacterial environment. When taken as a supplement, BLIS K12 can help fight pathogenic infections in the mouth and reduce inflammation. BLIS K12 and additional beneficial bacterial strains are also helpful to the immune system and numerous other areas of health.
Pure honokiol extract: Honokiol is an active phytochemical extracted from the bark of the Magnolia officinalis tree, an ancient staple of traditional Chinese medicine. Honokiol has been extensively researched over the past decade and has demonstrated important health benefits, including strong infection-fighting actions to maintain periodontal health. It is also a powerful antioxidant that supports a balanced inflammation process while helping regulate normal cell function. A number of natural oral care products containing honokiol are currently in development; and honokiol continues to be studied for its powerful health-promoting benefits, including remarkable cellular health support.
Tibetan Herbal Formula: This powerful herbal formula has been shown in more than 30 published clinical trials to support immunity, maintain healthy inflammation responses and promote circulation. In the area of dental health, published clinical research shows that this unique blend of herbs and extracts helps fight inflammation and infection in the teeth and gums, and it may reduce the need for root canals. Clinical experience with this formula mirrors these study results, suggesting that its powerful immune support and healthy circulation effects makes this formula one of the most important for oral and dental health.
Vitamin D3: The importance of vitamin D3 in numerous areas of health, including bone health, continues to be validated in published studies. In the case of oral health, some research has linked low levels of this vitamin to periodontitis. One study has shown that vitamin D3 may support periodontal health in people with diabetes. Vitamin D3 is also important for immune function, cellular function, bone health and a number of other important health areas.