Do you keep up with your oral hygiene? If not, hopefully this will change your mind. There is a bacterial species, Porphyromonas gingivalis, which relates directly to gum disease. However, new evidence has been found that 61 percent of the patients who have esophageal cancer of the type squamous cell carcinoma also have P.gingivalis.  Therefore, we can hypothesize that Porphyromonas gingivalis is possibly a direct factor to obtaining esophageal cancer. Ph.D., assistant professor of oral immunology and infectious diseases at the UofL School of Dentistry, Huizhi Wang M.D., states that gaining P. gingivalis may be a biomarker for esophageal cancer and if this can be fully confirmed there is the possibility of helping those early on with this form of cancer.


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Wang and his fellow partners, Richard J. Lamont, Ph.D., Jan Potempa, Ph.D., D.Sc., and David A. Scott, Ph.D., worked with the College of Clinical Medicine of Henan University of Science and Technology in Luoyang, China. They did 100 tissue sampling tests on patients who had the ESCC and 30 patients who did not have the ESCC. Through the process they measured the amount of  lysine-gingipain, which is an enzyme that correlates specifically to P. gingivalis and bacterial cells of DNA with esophageal tissues. The results were that the lysine-gingipain was a much higher percentage in the tissue of the patients who had ESCC. Wang believes that either the ESCC cells thrive off of the P.gingivalis and they form into niches or the infection of P. gingivalis sets up the esophageal cancer to easily develop. 

With this information, Wang states it is very possible that by using genetic technology and working with antibiotics the P. gingivalis can easily be targeted and the cancer cells will be eradicated. However, the easiest way to prevent this would be improving oral hygiene as a whole in order to reduce the risk of obtaining ESCC.There have been suggestions to screen for P. gingivalis in dental plaque and using more antibiotics to prevent ESCC. Do you believe that there is a need to improve oral hygiene as a whole? 

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