Health professionals from the Harvard School of Public Health found a way to possibly prevent fatal pancreatic cancer by keeping our teeth healthy and preventing periodontitis.

A follow-up study done by the researchers showed that men with periodontitis and tooth loss were at much greater risk of developing pancreatic cancer than men with good oral health. The idea was born when they realized that men with gum disease who had never smoked developed pancreatic cancer and were at much bigger risk than people who smoked but had no gum disease.

The explanation they have been able to come up with for now is that systemic inflammation may have a role in pancreatic cancer occurrence as people with gum disease had elevated levels of inflammatory markers in serum.

Another suggestion is that carcinogenic nitrosamines and high levels of oral bacteria from the mouth of the people with periodontal interfered with gastric acids and lead to pancreatic cancer development.

The study included over 50,000 male health professionals who had to report if they had ever had periodontal disease with bone loss over the period of 16 years. During this period, 216 men had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

It was found that among all men with periodontal disease, the multivariable relative risk for pancreatic cancer compared with men with no periodontal disease was 1.64. The crude incidence rate for pancreatic cancer among all men with periodontal disease was 61/100,000 person-years, while for those without the periodontal disease was 25/100,000.

When only men who never smoked were assessed, it was found that the relative risk of cancer of the pancreas among those with periodontal disease was 2.09. The crude incidence for the non-smokers with gum disease was 61/100,000 person-years compared with 19/100,000 among all never-smokers with healthy gums.

The greater the severity of the gum disease, the greater the risk of pancreatic cancer was.
When they studied the possible link between carries and other measures of oral health with pancreatic cancer, no link was found.
Since men with periodontal disease had 30% higher levels of C-reactive protein compared with men with no periodontal disease, the researchers determined that the idea of an inflammation could play a role in carcinogenesis.