It seems like every day that a new study comes out with another link between dental health and overall health. There is still a pretty big disconnect between dental and medical providers but hopefully that will continue to change as more and more evidence comes out.
The latest study to come out is from the Harvard School of Public Health. They followed 51,000 men over the course of 16 years. Of the 51,000 men, 216 of them developed pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer, for those of you who aren’t aware, is one of the most deadly forms of cancer to be diagnosed with. The one year survival rate is approximately 20% and five year survival rate is around 6%. At this point pancreatic cancer is largely considered incurable. So back to the study. Researchers found that after controlling for other factors, pancreatic cancer risk was increased 63% for those with a history of periodontal disease vs those without a history of periodontal disease. This isn’t foolproof evidence that periodontal disease can contribute to a higher risk of pancreatic cancer, but it does add to a growing body of information that suggests that periodontal disease is involved in many long term health problems.
The next time you look at that floss and think “nah”, remember that 20 seconds of flossing a day will likely reduce your risk of a great many health problems long term.