Poor oral health has been linked to a 75 per cent increased risk of the most common form of liver cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), according to research published in the United European Gastroenterology (UEG) Journal.
Researchers at Queen's University Belfast analysed 469,000 people in the UK, comparing the association between oral health conditions and the risk of gastrointestinal cancers, including pancreatic, colon, liver and rectum cancer.
While the QUB researchers found no significant associations between oral health and the majority of gastrointestinal cancers, they identified a substantial link with hepatobiliary cancer.
Of the 469,628 participants, 4,069 developed gastrointestinal cancer during the average six-year follow up. In 13 per cent of these cases, patients reported poor oral health. Those with with poor oral health were usually young, female, living in deprived socioeconomic areas and consuming less than two portions of fruit and vegetables per day.
“Poor oral health has been associated with the risk of several chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes”, explained lead author Dr Haydée WT Jordão, from the Centre of Public Health at QUB. “However, there is inconsistent evidence on the association between poor oral health and specific types of gastrointestinal cancers, which is what our research aimed to examine.”