There may be a lot more than Mom's common sense behind that rule of visiting your dentist every six months. As it turns out, scientists are uncovering a link betweeen poor oral hygiene and pancreatic cancer.
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (Boston) recently completed a huge analysis of data gathered from over 51,000 adults over a period of 16 years. After adjusting for smoking, diabetes, age, physical activity and diet, the team concluded that those with a history of periodontal disease had a 64 per cent increased risk of pancreatic cancer than those with no such history. And increased severity of periodontitis, for example with recent tooth loss, had the greatest risk. (Abstract attached to link at headline).
Previous studies have found links between tooth loss or periodontitis and pancreatic cancer risk. These research studies have found that people with periodontal disease have an increased level of inflammatory markers such as C reactive protein (CRP) in their blood. These markers are part of an early immune system response to persistent inflammation and have been linked to the development of pancreatic cancer.
No significant links were found between other types of oral health problems such as tooth decay and cancer of the pancreas.
As an aside, you can help prevent the occurance of oral disease by using oral probiotic products such as those produced by BioGaia, a Swedish company (no relation to ours). Properly restoring the good flora of the mouth is critical, especially in light of the "anti-bacterial" nature of some mouthwash products. Using an anti-bacterial mouthwash is the nuclear bomb approach to oral health. There are PLENTY of good bacteria in the mouth, and more and more reasons to believe that these strains help prevent disease and inflammation.