European researchers reveal in a recent study that neglecting oral hygiene could potentially increase the risk of the most common variant of liver cancer by 75%.
As the first step in digestion, the mouth is often described by medicine as “the first stomach” where food must be properly chewed to simplify the work of other organs. Because of its link with the entire digestive system, your mouth is populated with a very large amount of bacteria that, depending on the hygiene and diet of each, can cause bad breath and other issues.
A recent study conducted by Queen’s University Belfast on 469,000 people investigated the relationship between poor oral hygiene and the risk of developing certain cancers such as liver, colon, rectum, and the pancreas. Indeed, according to some researchers, bacterial proliferation has a possible impact on the development of diseases throughout the digestive system.
A lifestyle issue more than just hygiene
The results of this study show a trend between poor oral hygiene and the development of cancers such as hepatocellular carcinoma which is the main variant of liver cancer, as well as cancer of the hepatobiliary canal.
But this trend, although apparent, does not establish a complete and direct link, as explained by Dr. Benoît Lalonde, a professor at the faculty of dentistry at the Université de Montréal: “It would not be surprising that the patient who does not take care of his mouth does not take care of his health in general, whether it is a patient who is overweight, who is diabetic, who is a smoker, etc. We see that there are several collateral factors that could explain heart disease or hepatocellular disease.”
For example, researchers found that the majority of people with oral hygiene concerns were young people from poor neighborhoods who consumed less than two servings of fruits and vegetables a day.