Most of us are aware that obesity is a growing problem in America. The Center for Disease Control estimates that 67% of adults are currently considered obese. 34% of those are considered severely obese. What many people do not realize is that among the many health risks associated with obesity, periodontal disease is also a risk factor. Although at first glance it may be hard to see the connection, current research has revealed a distinct link between obesity and periodontal disease.
Health Risks of Obesity
The health risks related to obesity are vast. Diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, reflux, infertility and even cancer have been linked with increased weight. Many of these diseases seem to have an obvious connection to weight. But what about periodontal disease?
What is the Connection Between Obesity and Gum Disease?
Recent studies show that people with excess weight have double the incidence of periodontal disease, while people dealing with severe obesity have triple the occurrence. The reason for this increased risk for periodontal disease is thought to be linked with the increased chemical signals which fat cells produce. These substances are often associated with an overall inflammation response in the body. This inflammation response decreases immunity, which then increases the chances of periodontal disease. It is also believed that the inflammation response decreases the blood flow to the gums, making them more vulnerable.
Another connection between obesity and periodontal disease would be lifestyle markers which are common in individuals suffering from obesity. Increased sugar consumption is often associated with obesity, as well as periodontal disease.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Simply put, periodontal disease is ongoing bacterial infections which impact the tissues that surround and support the teeth. Periodontal disease is referred to as Gingivitis. Gingivitis is actually a very early form of periodontal disease. When left untreated, this will turn into periodontitis.
There are many factors which can put an individual at risk for this problem. Tobacco use, poor dental hygiene, age, diabetes, medications, pregnancy, and obesity are just a few factors that play a role in periodontal disease development. The warning signs of periodontal disease can include, swollen, tender gums, bad breath, gums that pull away from teeth, and loose teeth.
When bacteria forms and builds up on the teeth, it causes an inflammatory response. The gums begin to swell and pull away from the teeth. This causes a pocket to form. This pocket then also fills with infection. When left untreated these pockets become deeper and more severe.
Beyond the obvious threat to teeth, periodontitis can also place individuals at a greater risk for other diseases such as heart disease, stroke and respiratory disease.
Treating Periodontal Disease
In treatment, the goal is to stop the progression of the disease, thereby improving the health of the surrounding gums. In some cases, it is necessary to also restore the supporting structures such as bone or gum which has been lost. Initial treatment is carried out by cleaning the tartar and plaque from the teeth and gums and scraping the pockets clean of bacteria and infection. At this point, you might need to see a periodontist, as opposed to a regular family dentist.
Proper hygiene following treatment is essential to recovery.
How to Prevent Periodontal Disease
Maintaining overall good health is necessary to dental health. Engaging in a healthy lifestyle free from tobacco use, excessive sugar intake, and including consistent good dental hygiene will go a long way toward preventing periodontal disease.
Discussing dental hygiene with someone at your local family dentistry will enlighten you to the specifics of dental hygiene which most people overlook. You should take time to learn how to floss properly and replace your toothbrush every 3 months.
It is also important to remember that your diet is key to all aspects of your health. Decreasing sugar intake can help in losing weight, as well as in building dental health.
Taking Care of Your Oral Health With the Help Of Hancock Village Dental
Aside from taking care of your health, from your teeth to your toes, it’s important to have an established oral health routine at home. This includes brushing your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush morning and at night and flossing your teeth once a day. This also includes seeing your family dentist in Clermont twice a year. This will help us spot any future problems and guide us in making the best treatment plan for you. Call us today to schedule your next appointment! 352.989.5815