Pancreatic Cancer Linked to Periodontal Disease

The links between Periodontal Disease and your general health continue to grow.  It is now generally accepted by researchers that periodontal disease increases your risk to develop pancreatic cancer by upwards of 59% depending on the bacteria you have in your mouth, which is one of the reasons we recommend the use of Salivary Diagnostics in our treatment of periodontal disease

There are many articles available but I thought the several below were well presented and offer good references for the information presented.

We are happy to answer your questions, see you for a consultation to determine if you have periodontal disease or see you for periodontal cleanings.


Research Finds Association Between Certain Oral Bacteria, Higher Risk Of Pancreatic Cancer.

The Washington Post (4/20, McGinley) reported certain oral bacteria may be linked to a higher risk of pancreatic cancer, according to new research released Tuesday. Investigators “analyzed oral-wash samples collected over several years as part of two large cancer prevention and screening studies conducted by the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society.”

        CBS News (4/20, Marcus) reported that the researchers “found that two oral bacteria were elevated in the pancreatic cancer patients: Porphyromonas gingivalis and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans.” Individuals “who carried Porphyromonas gingivalis had an overall 59 percent greater risk of developing pancreatic cancer, and those who carried Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans were at least 50 percent more likely overall to develop the disease.” The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

        The Daily Mail (4/19) reported that Dr Nigel Carter, CEO of the UK Oral Health Foundation, said, “Further investigation into this association needs to be carried out but if confirmed there’s no reason why a saliva test to detect for pancreatic cancer could not be taken by your dentist.” mentions that researchers are looking into using saliva for the diagnosis of certain cancers. also provides information on cancer and dental health.

By Tammy Davenport

Updated March 02, 2016

Could gum disease increase your risk of pancreatic cancer? The evidence that this is the case has been growing, to the point of being considered well-established by researchers. Take care of your mouth to reduce your risk of this deadly form of cancer.

Harvard Study Links Gum Disease to Pancreatic Cancer

A 2007 study from Harvard linked gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, to pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer has been named as the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, more than 30,000 Americans are expected to lose their lives to pancreatic cancer each year.

While there have been many studies documenting the link between poor oral hygiene and other medical problems, such as heart disease and stroke, this was the first study to find a solid link that gum disease could actually increase the risk of pancreatic cancer.

This particular study began in 1986 and documented over 50,000 men working in health professions. Between 1986 and 2002, researchers verified 216 cases of pancreatic cancer, with 67 of those cases having periodontal disease. In summary, after adjusting for factors such as diabetes, smoking and others, the findings showed that the men with gum disease were 63% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer by rate of comparison than men that did not have gum disease.

Dr. Dominique Michaud, assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard, states that one possible reason for the link between gum disease and pancreatic cancer could be that “Individuals with periodontal disease have elevated serum biomarkers of systemic inflammation, such as C-reactive protein, and these may somehow contribute to the promotion of cancer cells.” Dr. Michaud also offers another explanation that a person with periodontal disease has increased levels of carcinogens and oral bacteria in their mouth.

Further Studies Confirm Link Between Gum Disease and Pancreatic Cancer Risk

The evidence for the link continues to grow. A 2016 study of over 200,000 people in Taiwan found a significantly positive association between periodontal disease and the risk of pancreatic cancer, but mostly in those aged 65 years and older. The study found this risk was increased independently of other factors such as diabetes, pancreatitis, alcohol use and smoking.

While the biggest suspicion is that the inflammation from gum disease sets up an environment for pancreatic cancer to develop, studies have also found links between specific mouth bacteria and pancreatic cancer.

These are being further explored.


Michaud DS, Joshipura K, Giovannucci E, et al. “A prospective study of periodontal disease and pancreatic cancer in US male health professionals.” J Natl Cancer Inst. 2007;99(2):171–5.

Chang JS, Tsai CR, Chen LT, Shan YS. “Investigating the Association Between Periodontal Disease and Risk of Pancreatic Cancer.” Pancreas. 2016 Jan;45(1):134-41.

Farrell JJ, Zhang L, Zhou H, et al. “Variations of oral microbiota are associated with pancreatic diseases including pancreatic cancer.” Gut. 2012;61(4):582–8.>

Constantinos P. Zambirinis, et. al. “Pancreatic Cancer, Inflammation and Microbiome,” Cancer J. 2014 May-Jun; 20(3): 195–202.