Link Between Obesity And Gum Disease

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the number of Americans that have excess weight and obesity has increased significantly over the last two decades. About 64% of adults in the US have excess weight, while 34% have obesity. What’s more alarming is that this problem is more prevalent in the younger population.

The link between obesity and problems such as diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, gastric issues, infertility, and various cancers is well-known. Newer research suggests a two-way connection between obesity and gum disease.

Periodontal or gum disease

Periodontal disease is a chronic infection that causes problems for the tissues that surround and support teeth. Based on severity, there are two types of periodontal disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the early form of gum disease, and it is pretty much treatable at home. Periodontitis, on the other hand, is a severe gum infection that requires medical attention.

Factors that can contribute to developing the periodontal disease may include the following.

  • Smoking
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Increasing age
  • Broken teeth
  • Diabetes
  • Certain medications
  • Poorly fitted dentures

Signs that point at the possibility of periodontal disease may include the following.

  • Bleeding gums
  • Swelling and tenderness of gums
  • Bad breath that remains persistent
  • Gums pulling away from teeth
  • Dentures becoming loose
  • Permanent teeth separating

Nearly every dental infection starts due to the formation of plaque along the gum line and between the teeth. Leaving this plaque untreated can cause it to spread under the gum line, allowing bacteria inside it to start irritating teeth. These pockets spread deep under the gums, worsening the dental condition.

Periodontal disease doesn’t only cause the loss of teeth, but it also impacts overall health. Several studies suggest that periodontal disease may contribute to the development of health disorders, including diabetes, heart disease, respiratory issues, and several other life-threatening conditions.

Obesity and periodontal disease

Many studies show that obesity can be an independent reason for the development of gum diseases, even if you control risk factors such as smoking and medical conditions. A study suggests that overweight persons are two times likely to get periodontal disease, whereas obese people are three times more likely to get periodontal disease.

The main reason is the fat cells producing signals that inhibit healthy body functions. In many cases, these signals result in inflammation that affects tissues in different organs of the body. Gums, with a sensitive tissue structure, are more prone to the impact of inflammation. Inflamed gums do not put much resistance to the bacterial attack. This entire situation can result in periodontal disease to become a more likely outcome.

Treatment of periodontal disease

The treatment of periodontal disease aims at stopping the progression of the condition, improving the gum health, and restoring the structures if possible. The dentist will first remove plaque and tartar from the teeth and under the gums as the first step.

If the pockets of bacteria have spread deep under the gum line, the dentist may have to perform surgery. This surgery reshapes the bones and supporting structures. The doctor will prescribe you antibiotics after surgery to accelerate the recovery process.