Part 3: The Link Between Gum Disease & Pancreatic Cancer

Every year, it is estimated that more than 55,000 adults in the United States will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It is responsible for more than 44,000 deaths annually. Although the exact cause is unknown, there are known risk factors that can increase your risk for it, such as genetics. However, new research suggests that there may be an additional cause—gum disease. With more than 50% of adults having a form of the infection, your dentist in Reston can play a valuable role in restoring your gum health and reducing your risk for the cancer.


In 2007, a research team from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, MA found a link between gum disease and pancreatic cancer. They evaluated how the infection affects the bone at the base of the teeth and causes the destruction of the supporting tissues. When treated early, there was no connection between the infection and cancer; however, if left untreated, the risk for cancer did increase.

To better understand the connection, a study was conducted to analyze 51,000 men from 1986 to present time. They found that men who had gum disease had a 64% increased risk for developing pancreatic cancer. The risk is the highest for those who have experienced tooth loss due to the infection.

They found high levels of carcinogenic compounds in the mouths of those who had gum disease and pancreatic cancer. It is believed that they interact with the digestive chemical balance in the gut, which can lead to pancreatic cancer caused by environmental factors.

Although it may not be considered an established risk factor, there is an obvious connection. As a result, it makes it more important than ever to maintain your oral hygiene and care from your Reston dentist.


Although gum disease is common, it can be prevented with the proper oral hygiene habits at home. It is best to brush your teeth twice a day for at least 2 minutes each session. In addition, take the time to floss your teeth every night before going to bed.

To remove harmful accumulations that can lead to the infection, schedule a dental cleaning every 6 months. During this time, your dentist will also look for early signs of gum disease to quickly treat it before it causes irreversible damage to your oral and general health.


If it has been more than 6 months since your last dental visit, do not wait. Contact your dentist for a cleaning and checkup today.


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