Pancreatic Cancer and Gum Disease: Is There A Link?

pancWhat if you were told that your overall health begins with your mouth? Study after study has been proving that fact so. Periodontal disease has been, and is continuing to be, linked to many different health conditions including high blood pressure, heart disease, lung illnesses, diabetes, and now pancreatic cancer. The pathogenic oral bacterium that populates the human cavity has been found in other parts of the body proving that it doesn’t simply remain in the oral cavity. It invades your blood stream and can cause havoc throughout the rest of your body including your pancreas. Is there a link between pancreatic cancer and gum disease?

Research Study

Beginning back in 1986, data was collected from 51,000 men. Of these men it was discovered that those who had a history of gum disease had a 64 percent increased risk of pancreatic cancer compared with men without gum disease. Men who presented with symptoms of periodontitis (such as tooth loss), the severest form of periodontal disease, had the greatest risk of pancreatic cancer. Located behind the lower part of your stomach, pancreatic cancer is a major cause of death among cancers, and is known to spread rapidly. By the time symptoms appear, the disease is usually too far advanced to be treated. Symptoms of pancreatic cancer include:

  • Weight loss
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Pain radiating toward your back
  • Loss of appetite
  • Jaundice
  • Blood clots
  • Depression

Every year about 32,000 people in the U.S. and 60,000 people in Europe are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. This study emphasizes the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene.

About your Des Moines Dentist

The Gateway Dental Group provides comprehensive dental treatments including general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry. As a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, Dr. Burds also has extensive experience helping his patients suffering from sleep disorders obtain restful sleep via oral appliance therapy. You can contact Dr. Stephen J. Burds office at 515-442-5659. We welcome patients from River Bend, Kirkwood Glen, East Village, and neighboring communities.