We know we're supposed to brush and floss regularly, but there is new evidence that protecting your gums and teeth could do much more than give you a pretty smile, it could save your life by warding off one of the deadliest cancers.
When Harvard researchers analyzed 16 years of health information on more than 50,000 men, they discovered that gum disease stood out as a risk factor for Pancreatic Cancer.
"We found that individuals with a history of periodontal disease had about a 60% increase in their risk of getting Pancreatic Cancer,"said Dr. Charles Fuchs, a Cancer researcher at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
That's after researchers factored out smoking, obesity diabetes and other potential risks. The scientists speculate that the chronic inflammation caused by gum disease may play a role in the health of the Pancreas. More studies are planned to confirm the link and to see if there is a connection between oral health and other cancers.
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. More than 30,000 Americans are expected to die from the disease this year. The research was conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health.