Study Links Gum Disease to Obesity

Current research is indicating a significant link between gum disease and obesity exists. Nearly half of the American population age 30 and older is affected by gum disease, a trend seemingly continued to rise. Additionally, nearly one-third of Americans are inflicted or threatened with obesity.

Obesity is an American epidemic with its fair share of health complications. Those currently diagnosed as obese are significantly at risk to heart disease, type 2 diabetes and various forms of cancer. In an article published in General Dentistry, obesity may now be a catalyst for gum disease as well.

There’s a chemical explanation for the possible link between gum disease and obesity. An obese person’s body produces an enormous amount of cytokines, identified best as proteins with inflammatory qualities. Cytokines can reduce blood flow in the gums, increasing the chances of gum disease developing. Gum disease can produce cytokines of its own, increasing inflammation throughout the body.

Research has yet to determine the direct cause and effect. It remains entirely possible one condition, between gum disease and obesity, could simply be a risk factor for the other. Researchers stress that the study is ongoing, the rather complicated relationship between these conditions could require more focus before factors for causation are expanded upon.

The key is prevention on both fronts. Individuals should be vigilant about oral healthcare, incorporating correct flossing techniques within their daily routines. Stay current on dental work, ensuring examinations are scheduled no more than six months apart. Professional cleanings are a critical component to maintaining healthy gums.

While general fitness is an excellent way to ward off obesity, exercising regularly can potentially benefit your oral health as well. It’s clear the benefits of preserving your health, both inside and out, can prevent a variety of health complications down the road.