This lazy habit is linked to throat Cancer, according to new research

It seems like a pretty harmless habit, but new research has found that doing this repeatedly could be way more serious than you’d think.

A study published in the journal Cancer Research now links periodontal (a.k.a. gum) disease, which can be caused by not brushing your teeth on the regular, with esophageal cancer, or cancer of that tube that runs from your throat to your stomach. Seriously? Could not brushing your teeth be a cause of throat cancer?

It just might be: For the study, researchers took mouth samples from 122,000 people and, after 10 years, 106 people had developed esophageal cancer. The researchers discovered that people who developed esophageal cancer were more likely to have higher levels of certain types of bacteria in their mouths. Called Tannerella forsythia and Porphyromonas gingivalis, these two types of bacteria are also linked to gum disease. (Tannerella forsythia in particular was linked to a 21 percent increased risk of developing esophageal cancer.) These bacteria can take hold in your gums when you don't brush regularly, increasing your odds of developing periodontal disease.

However, it's worth pointing out a few major caveats: One, the researchers didn’t have complete information on the study participants’ oral health, so it was hard for them to say if the bacteria alone caused throat cancer or if the participants actually had to have periodontal disease to have an increased risk.

Also, it’s important to remember that this study looked at the types of bacteria linked to esophageal cancer, not teeth-brushing habits. So it's possible that the people who developed esophageal cancer also just happened to have crummy oral hygiene.

Still, the results are pretty disturbing. After all, periodontal disease has already been linked with some types of oral, head, and neck cancers, so clearly keeping your teeth clean is important for your overall health.

So seriously: Make it a point to brush your teeth twice a day. It could do a lot more for your overall health than you’d think.

JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!

Unblock notifications in browser settings.

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: news@pulselive.co.ke

Recommended articles

3 reasons you should apply lime juice on your face

3 reasons you should apply lime juice on your face

NTV anchors Ben Kitili & Lofty Matambo promoted to senior roles

NTV anchors Ben Kitili & Lofty Matambo promoted to senior roles

15 of the wildest animal specimens I saw hidden underneath one of the world's largest natural history museums

15 of the wildest animal specimens I saw hidden underneath one of the world's largest natural history museums

Cucumber: The health benefits of this fruit will leave you speechless

Cucumber: The health benefits of this fruit will leave you speechless

KTN anchor holds dreamy beach wedding ceremony on her birthday [Photos]

KTN anchor holds dreamy beach wedding ceremony on her birthday [Photos]

Fairytale bride: The 3 dresses Rita Dominic wore on her wedding day in detail

Fairytale bride: The 3 dresses Rita Dominic wore on her wedding day in detail

Check out how Rita Dominic and her husband looked at their white wedding

Check out how Rita Dominic and her husband looked at their white wedding

The way of men - How the 1st inaugural men's event went down

The way of men - How the 1st inaugural men's event went down

DIY Recipes: How to make Sausage salad

DIY Recipes: How to make Sausage salad