A dentist has issued an urgent warning about brushing your teeth after new research revealed a link between poor oral hygiene and a deadly disease. Dentist Dr Ferakh Hamid from Aesthetique Dental Care shared his top tips for keeping your mouth healthy as a study found an association between the mouth and bowel cancer.

In the new study, published in the journal Nature, researchers discovered a specific microbe typically found in the mouth in about 50 percent of bowel cancer cases.

Scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Centre in the US learnt how microbes found in the mouth could travel to the lower gut, withstand stomach acids, and then grow within colorectal tumours.

As part of the research they examined 200 cases of bowel cancer and found that about half of the cancers contained the microbe.

They also discovered the microbe in many stool samples taken from people with the cancer.

According to the study, the microbes drive cancer progression and can lead to poorer outcomes.

Speaking to Express.co.uk , Dr Hamid explained more about what this means.

“New studies have shown a surprising connection between how we care for our teeth and the risk of colon cancer,” he said.

“It seems that a certain kind of bacteria, which is normally found in our mouth, can end up in our colon if we don’t brush our teeth properly. This can increase the risk of colon cancer.

“It turns out that what happens in our mouth can affect other body parts, too. Not caring for our teeth can lead to unexpected problems, like making other organs sick.

“This bacteria, known as Fusobacterium nucleatum, can make things worse for people who already have colorectal cancer.

“There are different types of this bacteria; the kind usually found in our mouth isn’t the same as the kind found in colon tumours.

“Finding this bacteria in colon tumours has been shown to lead to worse health for those people.”

He therefore stressed the importance of keeping your teeth and mouth clean and healthy.

“This shows us just how crucial it is to clean our mouth through regular brushing and dentist visits. It’s not just about avoiding cavities; it’s about keeping our whole body healthy,” he said.

“The link between the health of our mouth and our overall health is really strong.

“Problems like gum disease can make other health issues worse, like diabetes and heart disease.

“This reminds us why it’s so important for people of all ages to go to the dentist regularly and keep up with brushing and flossing.”

How to look after your teeth

Dr Hamid added: “Preventive dental care, including regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups, is essential.

“It’s not just about avoiding pain or discomfort; it’s about maintaining your overall health. A proactive approach to dental care can save you from complex health issues down the line.

“Brushing your teeth twice a day is a defence mechanism against diseases both oral and systemic.

“This simple yet vital activity can significantly reduce the risk of harmful bacteria travelling from your mouth to other body parts.”

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