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As a kid your parents would have pestered you and ensured that you brush your teeth twice a day - once in the morning and before going to bed.
There was a reason behind all these. Brushing your teeth regularly can help in keeping your teeth healthy and prevent any teeth related ailments - like for instance gum disease, oral cavity and tooth pain.
Failing to maintain a good oral hygiene can also lead to other serious health issues as well. A new study has found that some bacteria that lead to gum disease may also increase the risk of esophageal cancer that affects the tube running from the throat to the stomach.
During the study, researchers examined whether oral microbiota were associated with subsequent risk of esophageal cancer.
Researchers had taken into consideration 122,000 people in the US for the study. The oral health of the participants were tracked for a decade.
The researchers found that two bacteria species linked with common gum disease can increase the risk of the cancer.
So what exactly is esophageal cancer?
Esophageal cancer is the cancer of the tube that runs from the throat to the stomach (oesophagus).
Esophageal cancer is the eighth most common cancer and the sixth leading cause of cancer death worldwide, said one of the researchers Jiyoung Ahn, Associate Professor at New York University (NYU) School of Medicine.
One of the worst part about the disease is that it is often not discovered until it has reached an advanced stage, five-year survival rates range from about 15 to 25 per cent worldwide.
Esophageal cancer is a highly fatal cancer.The most common types of esophageal cancer are esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) and esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC).
The researchers found that higher levels of the Tannerella forsythia bacteria were associated with a 21 per cent increased risk of EAC.
The bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis was associated with a higher risk of ESCC.
Both species of bacteria are linked with common gum disease. The study also showed that a few types of oral bacteria were associated with lower risk of esophageal cancer.
For example, the Neisseria bacteria was associated with lower risk of EAC.
The finding on Neisseria indicates that certain bacteria may have a protective effect, and future research could potentially examine whether these bacteria could play a role in preventing esophageal cancer, Ahn said.
This study was recently published in the journal Cancer Research.
Causes & Symptoms Of Esophageal Cancer:
There are several symptoms of esophageal cancer but smoking is one of the major causes. In addition to this, poorly controlled acid reflux is yet another significant risk factors for oesophageal cancer.
Esophageal cancer can be tricky as the signs and symptoms displayed initially by a patient does not seem so serious. However, one needs to be careful if you have trouble swallowing, unintentional weight loss, chest pain, worsening indigestion or heartburn and coughing or hoarseness. These are a few of the common symptoms of esophageal cancer.
(With Agency Inputs)