Potty Mouth?

potty-mouth-734In need of an extra incentive to brush your teeth this Monday morning?  Well, they don’t come much better than this. According to a new study published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe a common type of mouth bacteria may contribute to colorectal cancer.

Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the US. The American Cancer Society estimates that almost 143,000 people will be diagnosed in 2013 and that more than 50,000 will die of the disease.

fusobacterium_ll_111017_wgThe bacteria  at issue –  Fusobacterium nucleatum is a key component of periodontal plaque and plays a role in periodontal disease.  But, according to the researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, it can also attach to colon cells and trigger a sequence of changes that lead to colon cancer.  Although they noted that levels of F. nucleatum are much higher in people with gum disease, than in those without, it was not possible to prove a cause and effect relationship.

Nevertheless, the findings emphasize the importance of good oral hygiene.

colon-cancer-600The research team also found a way to prevent the bacteria from attaching to colon cells. “This discovery creates the potential for new diagnostic tools and therapies to treat and prevent colon cancer,” says lead investigator Yiping Han.

Until such time, SRxA’s Word on Health will be focused on flossing.

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Brushing up on Heart Disease

According to a new study published in the British Medical Journal, adults who brush their teeth less than once a day face an increased risk for heart disease.

Nearly 12,000 Scottish adults answered questions about oral hygiene and then were followed for 8 years. During that time, there were 555 cardiovascular disease events, including 170 deaths.

After adjustment for confounders such as concomitant illness, sex, age, weight, smoking and physical exercise, participants who brushed their teeth less than once a day were 70% more likely to suffer cardiovascular disease than those who brushed twice daily. Poor oral hygiene was linked to elevated levels of C-reactive protein and other inflammatory biomarkers.

The authors say their findings suggest “a possible role of poor oral hygiene in the risk of cardiovascular disease via systemic inflammation,” and they stress the importance of counseling patients on the benefits of good oral health.

These results confirm findings from several observational epidemiological studies that showed that poor periodontal health status is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Word on Health wonders, have you brushed today?