Did you know that there are over 700 different strains of bacteria that could potentially call your mouth their home? Thankfully, the average person only houses around 50 to 75 of them and only a few of these strains would be considered “bad.” The overabundance of those harmful bacteria can do more than harm your teeth and gums.
In fact, several research studies conducted over the last decade have made the connection between periodontal disease (periodontitis and chronic inflammatory gum disease are other names it goes by) and specific kinds of cancer, including Breast Cancer.
Recent Studies Make the Periodontal Disease-Cancer Link
The “bacterial community” that exists within your mouth is similar in some ways to that in your gut; many of the strains found there are actually helpful for your health. But there are a few, such as Streptococcus mutans and Porphyromonas gingivalis for example, which will aggressively attack healthy tissue in the mouth. When these “bad” bacteria run amok, periodontitis, a serious and progressive oral disease that affects the tissues as well as the bone that support the teeth, can ensue. Periodontal Disease’s destructive path does not end in the mouth, however, since these same bacterial toxins, as well as destructive enzymes and inflammatory cytokines, will also be released into the body on a consistent basis.
Of utmost importance to those who are on a healthy breast journey is the link between periodontal disease and Breast Cancer. A joint study published in the December 2015 issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention analyzed data gathered about over 70,000 postmenopausal women who were enrolled in the NIH’s Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study.
The researchers found that women with chronic inflammatory gum disease were more likely to develop Breast Cancer than those who did not have it.
The statistics for women who smoked or who had smoked at one time and also had periodontal disease were significantly higher.
Other studies have proven the connection between periodontal disease and other forms of cancer, including colorectal and esophageal. In addition, a massive 2008 study on 48,000 US men published in Lancet Oncology found a link between periodontal disease and lung, haematological, kidney and pancreatic cancers.
Periodontitis as a Marker for Immune Health
That same 2008 study also made the connection between high levels of oral bacteria and systemic inflammatory response. In other words, even if you brush, floss and see your holistic dentist regularly, if your immune system is compromised to begin with, then you may be more at risk for oral disease.
For example, the connection between periodontal disease and autoimmune response has been made by several studies. And very relevant to breast cancer prevention and healing is the connection between low levels of vitamin D and periodontal disease. As I write and speak about so often, almost every woman with Breast Cancer that I have coached, also have very low levels of this vital substance.
The First Step: Get Tested for “Bad” Oral Bacteria
Of course, there can be no course of action for healing periodontal disease (or any disease condition for that matter) without first gathering some basic information that can then be analyzed by your holistic health care provider. The very best test I know of for determining overall oral bacterial health is the MyPerioPath® saliva test administered by OralDNA. MyPerioPath® provides a thorough yet easy-to-read 2-page report of the top five harmful agents found in your mouth and the levels of each, as well as other pertinent information. The test can be done at home, is relatively inexpensive and can be ordered here.
I was quite surprised at the results of my Perio Path Test. Although everything looked good from an external perspective, I had a pathogenic load in my mouth. After deeper investigation of my mouth, my biological dentist discovered that I had a tooth sitting on my left breast meridian that had an infection in the tooth. The root was being “re-absorbed” with infectious bacteria. I was symptom-free, but this tooth was obviously affecting the bacterial load in my mouth. Because of my personal experience with this test, I believe that this test should be a part of a preventive and healing journey.
Essential #5 of the 7 Essentials System™ is a call to action to “Embrace Biological Dentistry” as part of your overall Healthy Breast plan. Remember that responsible oral health is not just about removing amalgams and root canals. It is also about consistently monitoring the condition of your teeth and gums in general, including checking regularly for the “bad” bacteria that could get out of hand and lead to periodontal disease.