Can Mouth Bacteria Trigger Colon Cancer?

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013, 5:28 pm

Two studies were published last week that suggested that a certain type of bacteria found in the mouth may trigger colorectal cancer by switching on cancer genes and changing our immune response.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer among Americans and researchers have found Fusobacteria, a bacteria from the mouth, in the tissues from colorectal cancer patients. This new research shows us how the microbes trigger the cancer and how they do it.

The first study found the bacterium in non-cancerous tumors that can change and become cancerous over time. This suggested to the researchers that the bacterium somehow contributes to the early stages of tumor creation. They also discovered that the bacteria would speed up the formation of tumors by affecting a type of immune cell.

The second study found a molecule that lives on the surface of the bacteria that allows it to stick to and invade cancer cells. This molecule switches on genes that cause cancers to grow and trigger inflammation in the cancer cells.

How Can You Protect Yourself?

Our bodies contain multitudes of bacteria, some good, some bad. The trick seems to be keeping the good bacteria and bad bacteria in balance. The bad bacteria in our mouths are the ones that cause gum disease and tooth decay and, as research shows, diseases throughout the body as well.

How can you keep bad bacteria in check? Brush, floss (every day) and visit your dentist on a regular basis. Only professional dental cleanings can remove pockets of bacteria from below the gum line so they don’t have a chance to cause disease.

If it has been a while since you have had your teeth cleaned please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439. We’ll schedule a visit and get you back on track to a healthy smile!

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Category: gum disease, oral health

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