Obesity is linked to high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, type 2 diabetes, and many types of cancer. However, did you know obesity can increase your risk of developing gum disease? In a Case Western Reserve University study, researchers found a link between an increased risk of gum disease and increased body mass index, percentage of body fat, and waist circumference.
Obesity is defined as a weight above what is considered healthy, typically measured using body mass index (BMI). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a BMI of 30.0 or above is considered obese. It is important to remember that obesity is a complex disease and involves more than just a high amount of body fat. It is a chronic medical problem that can increase your risk of other diseases and illnesses.
The latest data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) shows approximately 39.6 percent of adults and 18.5 percent of children between the ages of 2 and 19 in the U.S. have obesity. Obesity can have numerous contributors, such as inherited factors, poor diet, environmental factors, and lack of physical activity. Weight-related issues can impact a person’s quality of life. This is due to an increased risk of depression, social isolation, disability, lower work achievement, sexual problems, and feelings of guilt and shame.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, otherwise known as periodontitis, is a type of gum infection that affects more than 3 million people in the U.S. each year. While fairly preventable, it can become quite serious if left unchecked and untreated. Common symptoms include red, swollen, and tender gums, and in severe cases, tooth loss. If left untreated, gum disease can actually destroy the jawbone over time. Gum disease also increases a person’s risk of developing lung and heart diseases.
Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums and typically precedes periodontitis. However, it is important to note not all cases of gingivitis will progress to periodontitis. Gingivitis can develop when bacteria in plaque builds up in the mouth, causing the gums to become inflamed. If not treated, gingivitis can advance to gum disease. There is no irreversible bone or tissue damage with gingivitis and periodontitis can cause the inner layer of gum and bone to pull away from the teeth. This can cause pockets to form that collect debris and ultimately become infected.
The Obesity-Gum Disease Connection
So, what exactly is the connection between obesity and gum disease? Many theories suggest that fat cells in the body produce hormones and chemical signals that increase inflammation. In turn, this can decrease the effectiveness of the immune system and make a person more susceptible to conditions like gum disease. Other theories suggest obese individuals are more likely to eat a diet high in simple sugars like fructose, glucose, and galactose. The body converts simple sugars to plaque, which can then accumulate on the teeth and gums.
Preventing Gum Disease
Preventing gum disease or stopping the progression of established periodontal disease is not easy. It is important to reevaluate your current hygiene routine. Speak with our dentists in Clermont FL about preventative measures and treatment. Brushing after meals can help remove food debris and plaque on the teeth and gums. Also, floss at least once per day to remove food particles that may accumulate between the teeth. Follow up with a mouthwash to help remove any plaque left behind. See one of our experts at Hancock Village Dental in Clermont on a regular basis for a professional cleaning. These visits will involve cleaning the pockets around the teeth to prevent damage to the jawbone. In more advanced cases though, surgery may be required.
Call Your Clermont Dental Office
Without treatment, gum disease can cause extensive damage to your smile. It is important to speak with your health care provider about your weight and determine what steps you should take to achieve a healthier body mass index. Schedule an appointment today with Hancock Village Dentists in Clermont to determine the extent of your condition and what treatment is needed to manage your gum disease.