Oral Hygiene is Key in the Fight Against Gastric Cancer - European Medical Journal

Oral Hygiene is Key in the Fight Against Gastric Cancer

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STOMACH CANCER prevention may be possible through treatment of chronic periodontal disease and control of periodontal pathogens, according to results of a new study carried out by the New York University College of Dentistry (NYU Dentistry) and the New York University School of Medicine, New York City, New York, USA. Gastric cancer is an area of concern for many healthcare professionals, with an estimated 26,370 new cases of stomach or gastric cancer said to have been diagnosed in 2016 in the USA, according to The American Cancer Society. Evidence now suggests that chronic inflammation caused by oral bacteria could be a major contributing factor to the development of the disease.

The study assessed a group of 105 individuals who underwent an upper endoscopy procedure. Of these, precancerous stomach lesions were observed in 35 individuals, leaving the remaining 70 individuals to form a control group. The research team carried out an examination of the oral bacterial community to identify the periodontal conditions of each individual; salivary and dental plaque samples were obtained and analysed for the key bacteria attributed to periodontal disease, including Porphromonas gingivalisTreponema denticolaTannerella forsythia, and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans.

Analysis of the samples revealed higher levels of T. denticola and A. actinomycetemcomitansin the individuals with precancerous lesions compared to controls, despite a reduced level of salivary bacterial density, and 31.5% of patients with precancerous lesions were more likely to experience oral bleeding after being probed compared to 22.4% in the control group. Further investigation showed that T. forsythia colonisationalongside the previously mentioned bacteria, was also a predictor of precancerous lesion development, alongside irregular flossing.

Prof Yihong Li, New York University College of Dentistry, stated: “Our study reinforces earlier findings that poor oral health is associated with an increased risk of precancerous lesions of stomach cancer.” The research team concluded that colonisation of periodontal bacteria in the mouth and the subsequent alterations to the bacterial microbiome could be a contributing factor to the elevated risk of developing precancerous stomach lesions. Prof Li summarised: “Based on our findings, treatment for chronic periodontal disease and control of periodontal pathogen infections should be included in future strategies for preventing stomach cancer”.

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