Gum disease bacteria sparks cancer cell growth

24 February 2015

A bacteria that is known to cause gum disease has now been linked to cancer growth, according to new research.

The study, published in the journal Immunity, found that the bacteria - fusobacterium nucleatum - could restrict the body's ability to fight off cancer. During their research, the team combined it with human tissue cells and discovered that the bacteria attached itself to the immune system. Specifically, it focused on the part that is tasked with attacking cancer cells, thereby preventing it from protecting the body.

Chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation Dr Nigel Carter OBE said the research provides further evidence for why maintaining good oral hygiene is so important.

He said this research should prompt people to improve their oral health, with growing bodies of evidence linking it to other health problems.

Dr Carter added: "Brushing your teeth for four minutes during the day doesn't sound like a life-saving practice, but more and more research suggests it could go a long way to reducing the risk of some of these diseases."

Posted by Jeanette Royston

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