How Does Gum Disease Affect Your Pancreas?

Oral bacteria linked to pancreatic problems including cancer

Although gum disease has already been tied to a number of serious diseases, the connection has now been made between periodontitis and pancreatic cancer. Researchers have concluded that having two types of bacteria commonly found in gum disease will raise your risk of cancer. 

About the Pancreas

Pancreatic cancer is cancer of the pancreas, which is an organ that aids in the digestive processes. The organ is located near the bottom of the stomach and lies beside it. It produces the insulin the body needs to be able to utilize sugar for energy. 

Pancreatic Cancer

Because the pancreas is located deep in your body, when it does become cancerous, it often is not detected early. estimates that about 56,700 people will develop cancer this year, and that about 45,700 people will die from it. Although the rates of developing this cancer are slightly higher among men, they are close between the sexes. 

The Study

One study looked at the changes that took place among the oral bacteria. It looked at men who were older, smoked, and were African-American. The presence of two bacteria that are commonly found in gum disease revealed a 59 percent and a 50 percent higher risk level than in those without it. 

Another study looked at the effects of smoking on how it affects the growth and imbalance that favors the bacteria involved in gum disease that could lead to pancreatic cancer. It was found that smoking drastically changed the balance of the mouth’s microbiome, promoting the overgrowth of the bacteria behind cancer. When the smoking was stopped, the situation was found to be reversible. 

Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms

Recognizing the symptoms of pancreatic cancer is important so that you can receive a timely diagnosis. The early stages of this type of cancer really do not have any symptoms, which is why it is rarely detected early. Diabetes is often a symptom of it, especially when it starts suddenly. Other symptoms may include:

  • Jaundice
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss that is unexplained
  • Upper abdomen pain that spreads to the back.
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blood clots (usually in the legs).

If you have a family history of pancreatic cancer, a doctor can watch for it. Diabetes may be a warning. 

Gum Disease

Although there are other factors that may enter in to cause pancreatic cancer, preventing or eliminating gum disease can help you avoid it. Gum disease is caused by bacteria that are normally found in your mouth. It is usually kept in check by regular brushing and flossing, and by your saliva. The bacteria produce acid every time you eat sugar or carbs. The acid and bacteria will irritate your gums. Before long you will likely notice that your gums will bleed when you brush or floss them. This means that you have gum disease, and an immune reaction has started. 

The immune reaction to the bacteria and acid will soon become an autoimmune reaction. It will start to attack your gums – which is why they will recede. It will also attack the ligaments that support your teeth and your jawbone. Your teeth will start to become loose and may even fall out if you do not get treatment for periodontal disease.

The Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

Before you get serious gum disease, the only two symptoms of mild gum disease are red or inflamed gums and teeth that bleed when you brush them. If you do not develop better oral care, mild gum disease – called gingivitis – will become periodontitis. This form of gum disease is much more serious, and you are more likely to see the following symptoms:

  • Inflamed gums
  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Pus along the gum line
  • Pockets forming on your gums
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Spaces developing between your teeth.

Complications of Gum Disease

Periodontal disease has also been found to create many other serious health issues. While the exact mechanism that causes cancer is not yet understood, you will certainly benefit by getting rid of gum disease while you can. In addition to pancreatic cancer, other complications include medical problems such as cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke, cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, dementia, ED, premature births, and many more. 

Get Gum Disease Treatment Now

Instead of letting your gum disease alone, you can go to a dentist or periodontist and get it treated. Help prevent pancreatic cancer by treating yourself to better oral care by brushing your teeth twice a day – two minutes each time – and by flossing. 

If you need periodontal disease treatment, get it taken care of before pancreatic cancer shows up and ruins your life. Periodontitis is a serious disease and needs serious treatment. Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, MS, MBA, FDSRCS, a Board Certified Periodontist, can provide you with the oral care you need. He offers a wide range of dental services for all ages and accepts most dental health plans. His ToothHQ dental offices are located in the Carrollton, Cedar Hill, Mockingbird/SMU and Grapevine, TX areas. For a consultation or dental checkup, you can contact his office today at 469-470-2546