Yes. The answer is yes. How? Glad you asked. By brushing your teeth regularly (like every day – twice a day, which you kinda should do anyway), you can help prevent colorectal cancer, according to a British study. You see the culprit here is Fusobacterium — present in “bleeding gum,” a result of poor dental hygiene. This bacterium that causes bleeding gums can get down into your bowel via saliva swallowed while eating and drinking. That mouth bacterium, Fusobacterium, is more common by a hundredfold in tumors as opposed to normal healthy cells
In this study, scientists have discovered that “microbes” have the ability to turn precancerous cells in the bowel cancerous. They also discovered these “microbes” make established tumors in the bowel grow. In trying to figure out how the bacterium got in the gut in the first place, the theory was presented that it was bleeding gum.
These bacteria have a super sticky protein that lets them attach to sugar molecules, (Sugar is bad. We know cancer loves sugar.) and these sugar molecules are alreadly attached to polyps and cancerous cells in the bowels. These bacteria are “Anaerobic” (they do not need oxygen) and are well-suited to live in the airless bowel. So these bacteria that do not need air come down, grab hold of the sugar molecule, which has hold of the cancer or precancerous cells, and create one long chain of food and growth enhancers — a perfect storm.
In identifying the process, new drugs can be developed for treatment. For instance, sugar-binding proteins of bacteria could be targeted (and destroyed) so they could not attach to the sugar molecules that are attached to the cancer cells.
Need another reason to brush those choppers? Well, did you know that Fusobacterium is what is called an anchor bacteria? Gross, right. But what does that mean? Well, think of Fusobacterium as sort of like an “anchor tenant” in a shopping mall. One large store like a Macy’s or Kohl’s that smaller stores gather around. Fusobacterium encourages other bacteria to attach to the gums creating a biofilm across the gum and lovely blanket of many different bacteria all ready to eat away at your gums, make them bleed (and maybe cause colon cancer), and loosen your teeth… reaching for that toothbrush yet?
Still not convinced? How about the fact that this cornucopia of mouth bacteria fuels a condition known as ulcerative colitis, which has been linked to cancer. In the end, Fusobacterium just are not or only rarely found in the “gut” of healthy people.
Let’ double down and bring in a new player: Alzhemier’s Disease. All of this is in its infancy, but there has been evidence that gum disease can be a contributing factor in the development of Alzheimer’s. Could good dental hygiene help stave off Alzheimer’s? Research is being conducted, and a study found that individuals with Alzheimer’s who presented bleeding gums declined over 5 times faster that hose with healthy gums.
So to review, bleeding gums are caused by Fusobacterium – Fusobacterium binds with sugar molecules on polyps and cancer cells and promotes growth – Colorectal cancer develops. Please brush your teeth!