Toothbrush, your new anti-cancer weapon

Toothbrush, your new anti-cancer weapon

Our mouth is a true bacterial paradise: a single 10-second kiss between two people allows the exchange of about 80 million bacteria! Under normal sanitary conditions (regular brushing), these bacteria are not able to permanently establish themselves on the teeth and cause little trouble; However, when it is allowed to grow, it can stick to its surface to form a type of viscous, whitening coating known as dental plaque.

In addition to causing holes in the tooth enamel (cavities), plaque can worsen over time and lead to gingivitis (periodontitis) causing significant damage to the tissues surrounding the tooth, including the fixing bone (periodontitis).

Bacterium Gate

Another danger of lesions occurring on the gums is that they can be an entry point for plaque bacteria into the bloodstream. The bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis, for example, is able to squeeze between gum cells and use the bloodstream to establish itself in several places in the body.

The immune system is of course trying to eliminate this intruder, but the bacteria has more than one trick up its sleeve and has evolved a series of weapons that allow it to circumvent this immunity. As a result, the inflammatory response is unable to fight off the bacteria and even worsens the problem by accelerating the destruction of surrounding tissues.

Bacteria: carcinogens

Recent studies suggest that this bacterial infiltration and accompanying inflammation could play a role in the development of some cancers. For example, by comparing the composition of the oral bacterial flora of healthy people and those with pancreatic cancer, a team of New York scientists observed that the presence of Plasmodium gingivalis in the mouth was associated with a 59% increased risk of pancreatic cancer, an increase of up to 120% for other bacteria responsible for gum disease. , Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans.

These findings are consistent with a previous study that noted that people with high levels of antibodies against Plasmodium gingivalis (a sign of this bacteria in the blood) had twice the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

Finally, another team of scientists noted that 61% of biopsies from people with esophageal adenocarcinomas were colonized by P. gingivalis, while this bacterium is completely absent from samples taken from the esophagus. We can believe that this bacterial infection has a role in the development of this cancer due to the greater potential for dissemination of tumors containing bacteria, as well as the reduced survival of patients.

Healthy mouth and healthy body

These studies indicate that dental health can significantly affect the overall functioning of the body by acting as a gateway to certain disease-causing bacteria capable of supporting the development of serious diseases such as cancer. So taking care of your teeth by brushing them regularly and giving them all the necessary care should be considered an essential hygiene measure, which has a positive effect on the whole body.


(1) Kurt R et al. The formation of oral germs through intimate kissing. Microbiome 2014; 2:41.

(2) Fan X et al. The human oral microbiome and potential risk of pancreatic cancer: a population-based, nested case study. AACR Annual Meeting, New Orleans, April 19, 2016.

(3) Michaud DS et al. Plasma antibodies against oral bacteria and risk of pancreatic cancer in a large prospective European cohort study. Gut. 2013; 62: 1764-1770.

(4) Gauss et al. Presence of Porphyromonas gingivalis in the esophagus and its association with clinical characteristics and survival in esophageal cancer patients. infect the cancer factor. 2016; 11:3.

* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In any case, the information provided cannot replace the advice of a health professional.

#Toothbrush #anticancer #weapon

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