April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and we encourage all of our patients to have a painless, fast screening each year. In related news, there is a new study regarding the type of bacteria that causes gum disease, and its possible relationship with esophageal cancer. Researchers at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry have recently reported that the bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis has been found in tissues near cancerous cells in the esophagus.

These new findings have enormous implications. More studies are needed to determine why P. gingivalis is being found alongside cancer cells. There are a couple of likely explanations. First, the esophageal cancer cells may be a preferred niche for P. gingivalis to thrive. In this case, simple antibiotics may by useful in treating this type of cancer. Or, researchers could potentially develop therapeutic approaches using genetic technology to target the bacteria and destroy cancer cells.

Read the full article in Dentistry Today.

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