Oral cancer is one of the leading oral pathologies requiring constant vigilance on the part of the practitioner to screen, diagnose and prevent. Routine oral cancer screenings during hygiene appointments and restorative work are essential, as is prevention by informing the patient about risk factors such as tobacco usage. A new study by researchers at Case Western Reserve University suggests that there may be other, less visible risk factors for oral cancer.
The researchers investigated two bacterial species present in gum disease, P. gingivalis and F. nucleatum. These bacteria produce by-products through their metabolic process in the form of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). Furthermore, in patients with severe periodontal disease, levels of these SCFAs are significantly elevated. After complex genetic and virologic experiments, the researchers found that these SCFAs were stimulating latent Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus infections to become lytic and manifest as Kaposi's sarcoma.
Kaposi's sarcoma has gained notoriety as the primary cause of the AIDS-associated lesions on those afflicted with end-stage HIV, but it also frequently appears in patients with other immune system dysfunctions. The cancer is caused by infection with human herpesvirus 8, and usually lies dormant until immune suppression or environmental factors drive the virus to begin replicating. This cancer also affects older adults of Mediterranean ancestry and a certain subsection of genes originating in sub-Saharan Africa.
This discovery documenting the inter-relation of bacteria, periodontal health and oral cancer highlights the need, especially among immunocompromised patients, to maintain a high standard of oral hygiene to avoid acquiring any number of oral pathologies, among which Kaposi's sarcoma is only the latest.
Short Chain Fatty Acids From Periodontal Pathogens Suppress HDACs, EZH2, and SUV39H1 to Promote Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus Replication. Retrieved June 17, 2016, from http://jvi.asm.org/content/early/2014/01/30/JVI.03326-13.abstract
The information contained in this, or any case study post in Incisor should never be considered a proper replacement for necessary training and/or education regarding adult oral conscious sedation. Regulations regarding sedation vary by state. This is an educational and informational piece. DOCS Education accepts no liability whatsoever for any damages resulting from any direct or indirect recipient's use of or failure to use any of the information contained herein. DOCS Education would be happy to answer any questions or concerns mailed to us at 106 Lenora Street, Seattle, WA 98121. Please print a copy of this posting and include it with your question or request.