A novel study compared the microbes present in oral wash samples of patients with head and neck (H&N) cancer with those present in matched controls obtained from the huge CPS-II and PLCO observational studies. Unlike the detrimental role oral bacteria may play in the development of periodontal disease and dental caries, this study asserts a protective role of certain microbes in deterring H&N cancer. Specifically, an abundance ofCorynebacterium and Kingella were associated with a lower risk of cancer, though (bonus!) not associated with periodontal disease or caries. The authors hypothesize that these taxa may reduce risk by actually metabolizing oropharyngeal carcinogens. Yet another reason talking about bugs in the body shouldn’t leave a bad taste in your mouth.