Why the fight against colon cancer might start in your mouth

I still remember the day my friend told me her husband had just been diagnosed with colon cancer.

He was in his mid-40s, the same age as my husband and I, at the time.

Even though it came as a shock, it shouldn’t have. In my work, I see the data regularly and know that colon cancer has been on the rise among people under 40 for several years now.

As more and more research is being carried out to get to the root causes and slow the tide, a disturbing revelation may have just been found in a surprising place — the mouth.

Traveling from the mouth to the gut

We’re used to discussing the gut microbiome.

But your mouth has a microbiome as well — a community of millions upon millions of bacteria — some good, some bad and some outright dangerous.

And it’s one of the latter that scientists from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center say is responsible for fueling colon cancer growth to make it far more deadly.

The name of the bacteria is Fusobacterium nucleatum. And past research has shown it can infect tumors, like a virus infecting a healthy cell.

It has also been shown to cause chemoresistance (making chemotherapy less effective for those undergoing treatment).

Now, researchers have been able to prove that a subtype of the bacteria, the tumor-infiltrating Fna C2 type, is the one responsible.

Their work showed that this one subtype of the bacteria had acquired distinct genetic traits allowing it to travel from the mouth through the stomach, withstanding stomach acid, and landing in the lower gastrointestinal tract.

This makes it one of the biggest colon cancer risks around.

“We’ve consistently seen that patients with colorectal tumors containing Fusobacterium nucleatum have poor survival and poorer prognosis compared with patients without the microbe,” explained Susan Bullman, Ph.D., Fred Hutch cancer microbiome researcher and co-corresponding study author. “Now we’re finding that a specific subtype of this microbe is responsible for tumor growth.”

Specifically, their study showed that:

  • The Fna C2 subtype is significantly enriched in colorectal tumor tissue
  • The subtype causes abnormal cells in colorectal tissue to grow exponentially
  • The Fna C2 lineage is found in approximately 50% of cases colorectal cancer cases.

“We have pinpointed the exact bacterial lineage that is associated with colorectal cancer, and that knowledge is critical for developing effective preventive and treatment methods,” said study co-author Christopher D. Johnston, PhD.

A healthier mouth for a healthier gut

Fusobacterium nucleatum is commonly found in dental plaque. So you know what that means…

Your first line of defense is practicing good oral hygiene and seeing a dentist regularly to have any plaque removed.

But there are some practices, a little off the beaten path, that could help as well…

  • Use a red wine mouthwash –Spanish researchers have found that that two polyphenols found in red wine — caffeic acid and p-coumaric acid — help prevent harmful bacteria like Fusobacterium nucleatum from attaching to gum tissue where they can start their trip to the gut. This means that swishing out your mouth with a bit of red wine rather than traditional mouthwash could be the key to better colon health.
  • Try DIMDiindolylmethane (DIM) has been shown to reduce the biofilms that produce plaque and cavities by a whopping 90 percent. By disrupting the biofilms, bacteria are not given a chance to grow.
  • Chew Greek gum – A gum made from mastic resin has been found to reduce the amount of cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth, lower plaque levels and reduce gum inflammation.
  • Use probiotics – Finally, don’t forget to take probiotics, which boost the level of good bacteria in your body, daily. Probiotics are even available in a chewable form designed specifically for oral health. You can find them online or at your local supplement store.

Editor’s note: Do you know that poor gums and teeth are linked to the number one killer in America? Not to mention kidney disease… rheumatoid arthritis… Parkinson’s disease… depression… and so much more. Click here to discover America’s Hidden Dental Health Crisis: How to protect yourself and your family from this dangerous public health peril!


Bacteria subtype linked to growth in up to 50% of human colorectal cancers, Fred Hutch researchers report – EurekAlert!

Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

By Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

Dr. Adria Schmedthorst is a board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic, with more than 20 years of experience. She has dedicated herself to helping others enjoy life at every age through the use of alternative medicine and natural wellness options. Dr. Schmedthorst enjoys sharing her knowledge with the alternative healthcare community, providing solutions for men and women who are ready to take control of their health the natural way.