Study: Germ in mouth linked to colon cancer

Sept. 17, 2013 at 12:41 AM
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CLEVELAND, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say they suspect a germ in the mouth -- a bacterium known as Fn -- could raise the risk of colon cancer.

Yiping Han of Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine in Cleveland and colleagues said Fn lives in the mouth and can be carried to other body sites.

The study, published in the journal Cell Host and Microbe, said Fn attached to a cell receptor in the colon and the process could spur cancer cell growth.

However, Han created a substance that blocks the process experimentally, but she said she couldn't tell whether it would lead to a treatment. In the meantime, she advised people to control mouth microbes the way we know.

"Practice good oral hygiene and keep the gum healthy because the mouth is the gateway to our health," Han said in a statement.

To keep your teeth and gums healthy, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advises to:

-- Brush your teeth two times a day with fluoride toothpaste.

-- Floss between your teeth every day.

-- Visit a dentist regularly for checkups and cleaning.

-- Cut down on sugary foods and drinks.

-- Don't smoke or chew tobacco.

-- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.

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