A healthy lifestyle – including great oral hygiene – is invaluable for reducing your risk of the chronic diseases so prevalent in the 21st century. That includes cancer, which a recent editorial in Harvard Public Health notes is poised to overtake heart disease as “humankind’s number-one killer.”
In this century, cancer will become not only the leading cause of death worldwide (in 91 nations it already ranks as the first or second cause of death before age 70, according to the World Health Organization) but also the single biggest hurdle to boosting life expectancy in scores of nations.
Nearly half of US cancer deaths could be prevented through lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking or eating more healthfully, writes Madeline Drexler, the magazine’s editor. But more, researchers are beginning to uncover more evidence on the role that the mouth/body relationship may play.
As Dr. Wendy Garrett, Harvard professor of immunology and infectious diseases, puts it, “We are beginning to see very provocative associations between the microbiome and cancer.”
For instance, Garrett’s lab and others have discovered that Fusobacterium nucleatum, a bacterium found in the mouth, is also abundant in colon tumors, “right at the site of the cancer.”
[Garrett] wants to find out why or whether such bacteria are important early signals for carcinogenesis, and if any interventions—such as changing one’s everyday behaviors and exposures, including diet and tobacco use—map onto the microbiome and could potentially halt the disease process.
This adds to other studies on the effects of the oral and gut microbiomes in disease development. Scientists have already linked gum disease with an increased risk of a number of cancers, including liver, breast, kidney, blood, and more.
But a positive spin can be put on this, as well, suggests Dr. Ed Giovannucci, Harvard professor of nutrition and epidemiology.
It’s possible that the cancers for which we currently don’t fully understand risk factors – such as pancreatic and ovarian cancer – might be tied to infections and therefore be preventable.
A key part of the biological dental approach is to identify underlying dental problems or infections that may be compromising your overall health and well-being. Healthy lifestyle choices form the foundation, but should chronic inflammation or disease develop, it’s important to investigate the cause of infection and not just treat the symptoms.
The extensive research of scientists like Dr. Weston A. Price and Dr. Hal Huggins on oral toxicities, as well as the more recent work of St. Louis’s own Dr. Simon Yu, whose use of needle-free Acupuncture Meridian Assessment to identify possible areas of infection, has been critical in deepening our understanding of the relationship between oral and whole body health..
These pioneers have shown that by identifying and addressing a complication or infection in your mouth and rebuilding your greater immune system so you can properly detox, we may support the body’s innate healing ability so it can return to its balanced, energetic, and healthful self.
And like Price, Huggins, and Yu, Drexler also emphasizes the value of prevention in avoiding the triggers for cancer.
We cannot treat our way out of the rising cancer caseload. The only solution is a full-scale defense, so that nobody suffers the disease in the first place.
We wholeheartedly agree.