Pre-op Oral Care Can Be Good For Cancer Patients

Cancer patients who are soon to undergo major surgery could reduce their risk of complications after the procedure by visiting their dentists in Guildford, or wherever they live, a new study has suggested.

Research from Japan found that those patients who made an appointment with a dentist shortly before having their cancer surgery slightly reduced their risk of developing post-surgery pneumonia or of dying within 30 days of having the surgery, Reuters reported.

Lead researcher for the study Miho Ishimaru, of the University of Tokyo, explained why oral health is particularly important for preventing postoperative pneumonia.

Because respiratory germs can grow in microorganisms and biofilms on the surface of the teeth, they can present a risk to patients on ventilators. Going to see your dentist shortly before surgery means your teeth will have had a thorough clean and check.

This study examined national data of cancer patients in Japan between 2012 and 2015.

Ishimaru commented: “Several studies have suggested that preoperative oral care might be associated with a decrease in postoperative pneumonia, but these were limited by small sample sizes.”

Of course there are many reasons why you should regularly visit your dentist, regardless of whether you’re being treated for other conditions or not.

Research published last month suggested that as we get older, people with poor oral health are exposed to more dangerous bacteria and are therefore more likely to develop infections. This can include pneumonia.

The researchers looked at the microbiome of the tongue in particular for this study and noted that having fewer teeth, more dental cavities and overall poor dental hygiene can all have a negative impact on the tongue’s microbiome and therefore our health.