May 30, 2017
Obesity is a rising problem in the United States, with the CDC estimating that more than one-third of US adults are affected by the condition. Related health effects include type II diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and even premature death. The increase in obesity is worrisome for our country’s overall well-being — and your dentist in Dunwoody, Dr. Jeff Rodgers, wants you to be aware of the risk excess weight also poses to oral health. People who are overweight or obese are far more likely to have gum disease. Keep reading to find out why.
Obesity, Inflammation, and Gum Disease
Research performed over the past four decades consistently points to the link between obesity and gum disease. Just to take one example, a study from the State University of New York in the early 2000s analyzed data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which collects the height, weight and other information from people living in the US. Ages of participants ranged from 20 to 90, and half of them were obese. The researchers found that no matter the age, sex, race, ethnic background, or smoking background, people who were obese are much more likely to have gum disease.
Identifying the Connection
What causes this link between excess weight and gum disease? Current thinking is that systemic inflammatory overload caused by obesity is the reason. People who have a higher body mass index (BMI) produce an high amount of cytokines, which are proteins with inflammatory properties. These cytokines can injure the gum tissue directly or injure them by reducing blood flow to the area, causing periodontitis and all its related side effects — including bleeding, tender gums, swollen gums, persistent bad breath, and ultimately tooth loss.
Lose Weight for Better Oral, Overall Health
There is good news, and it’s that people who are overweight or obese can reduce their risk of heart disease, stroke, gum disease, and premature death by losing the excess weight. The effects of obesity are certainly reversible with reduced BMI.
No matter your weight loss goals, maintaining a balanced, nutritious diet and developing an exercise regimen are important first steps. Talk to your doctor if you are ready to start losing significant weight but are unsure where to begin.
To reduce your risk of developing gum disease in the meantime, it is vital that you keep up with good oral hygiene habits. Brush your teeth gently for two minutes, twice a day or after each meal, and floss your teeth daily. Add an antimicrobial mouthrinse for additional cleaning. Avoid tobacco and reduce the amount of sugar you consume for better oral and overall health.
Request an Appointment Today!
Along with routine dental hygiene and leading an overall healthy lifestyle, attending regular checkups and cleanings with your dentist every six months is one of the best ways to prevent periodontal disease. With that in mind, when was your last visit to Dr. Rodgers’ office? Request an appointment today!
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