Obesity is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain forms of cancer, and now, it also may be a risk factor for gum disease.
The Possible Relationship Lies In The Diseases' Underlying Inflammatory Processes
"We know that being overweight can affect many aspects of a person's health," says Charlene Krejci, lead author of the article. "Now researchers suspect a link exists between obesity and gum disease. Obese individuals' bodies relentlessly produce cytokines, proteins with inflammatory properties. These cytokines may directly injure the gum tissues or reduce blood flow to the gum tissues, thus promoting the development of gum disease."
Gum disease is a chronic inflammatory infection that impacts the surrounding and supporting structures of the teeth. Gum disease itself produces its own set of cytokines, which further increases the level of these inflammatory proteins in the body's bloodstream, helping to set off a chain reaction of other inflammatory diseases throughout the body.
Research on the relationship between obesity and gum disease is still ongoing.
"Whether one condition is a risk factor for another or whether one disease directly causes another has yet to be discovered," says Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) spokesperson Samer G. Shamoon.
"What we do know is that it's important to visit a dentist at least twice a year so he or she can evaluate your risks for developing gum disease and offer preventive strategies."
The above story is based on the February 6, 2013 news release by Academy of General Dentistry.
The work has been published in the January/February 2013 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy:
Krejci CB, Bissada NF. Obesity and periodontitis: a link. Gen Dent. 2013 Jan;61(1):60-3.
With proper care, your teeth and gums can stay healthy throughout your life.
The best way to minimize the risk of developing gum disease is to remove plaque through daily brushing, flossing, rinsing, and professional cleanings.
WebMD has more details on how to care for your teeth and gum. Click HERE for details.
Parveen Dahiya, Reet Kamal, and Rajan Gupta had earlier reviewed the interrelationship of obesity, periodontitis and chronic inflammation:
Dahiya P, Kamal R, Gupta R. Obesity, periodontal and general health: Relationship and management. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Jan;16(1):88-93.
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