The Liver Cancer-Oral Hygiene Link

Assorted fruits & vegetables

Researchers at Queens University in Belfast, Ireland, have found another great reason to take care of your oral hygiene. A recent study of data from 469,628 patients has revealed an increased risk of liver cancer in those who reported having poor oral hygiene that had resulted in everything from missing teeth to bleeding gums and dental abscesses. The study found that while there was no link between poor oral health and other types of gastrointestinal cancers, there was an elevated risk in a particular cancer: hepatocellular carcinoma. Researchers also noted that hepatocellular carcinoma was more common in patients who were young, female, who ate fewer than five servings of fruit and vegetables per day, who were overweight or obese, smokers, and those living in less affluent areas. This isn’t the first time poor oral health has been linked to diseases throughout the body. More specifically, periodontal disease has been linked to everything from stroke to heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Thankfully, there’s a lot we can do with the data from this study – namely, use the information to help lower the risk of developing liver cancer. Here’s what you can do.

Maintain a Healthy Body Weight

Because an elevated risk of liver cancer was found in participants who were classified as overweight or obese, one of the most straightforward ways to help reduce your risk of liver cancer is to maintain a healthy body weight through diet and exercise. This will help not only with reducing your liver cancer risk, but will also improve your overall health and quality of life.

Change Your Diet

Even if you don’t have excess weight to lose, adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet is a healthy way to get all the vitamins, minerals and fiber your body needs. Just five servings a day can not only lower your liver cancer risk, but can also help you maintain healthy body weight.

Quit Smoking

While this is usually easier said than done, quitting smoking is worth the challenge. If you’re ready to quit but don’t know where to start, speak to your doctor for more information.

Take Care of Your Teeth

It goes without saying that to prevent a disease that is linked to poor oral hygiene you should be diligent about caring for your oral health. Be sure to brush twice a day, for two minutes minimum each time, and floss at least once a day. Don’t forget your dental exams either! To schedule your exam with Dr. George, please call 724-220-2347.

Dr. Alexandra S. George

Medically reviewed by Dr. Alexandra S. George - D.D.S., L.Vl.I.F. on July 22nd, 2019