Lots of people struggle with their weight and increasing numbers are losing this battle. However it’s well worth making the effort, as while many of us know that’s being overweight has been linked to a number of serious health conditions such as Type II diabetes, heart disease and respiratory problems, there is also increasing evidence that it could affect your gum health. Scientists have recently reviewed previous research on obesity and gum disease and have found an association between both conditions.
Periodontal disease is an infectious disease that causes an inflammatory response in the body as it tries to fight the plaque bacteria. If it isn’t promptly treated then it will eat away at the jawbone and the ligaments surrounding the teeth. Particularly severe cases of periodontal disease can result in tooth loss. Another problem with periodontal disease is that it can cause the gum tissue around the tooth to become ulcerated as it pulls away from the tooth, creating deep pockets that make ideal living conditions for anaerobic plaque bacteria that don’t require oxygen to thrive. Eventually these bacteria will be able to enter the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body.
The Link between Periodontal Disease and Being Overweight
Being overweight can make this problem worse as the adipose tissue or fat contains substances that also prompt an inflammatory response in the body. This reduces the body’s ability to regulate appetite, and also affects the way it uses insulin to regulate glucose levels. Adipose fat can increase the production of the C reactive protein that has been linked to cardiovascular disease and which is thought to increase the risk of diabetes. This protein is also associated with gum disease and can be more prevalent in the gums of people with periodontal disease. These findings are nothing new, as this link was first noticed in animal studies carried out in the 70s. Since then a number of studies have confirmed the link in humans. What isn’t yet known is whether gum disease or obesity came first, but it’s very clear the link between the two diseases is the chronic inflammation that both are capable of causing in the body.
Although periodontal disease is usually more common in older people, another recent study has found a link between obesity and gum disease in those aged between 18 and 34. It’s thought this might be due to a change in dietary patterns as younger adults are consuming less milk and more soft drinks than in the past. This means they’re gaining less vitamins C and calcium, both of which are important for helping to protect the gums against periodontal disease. Another problem is that soft drinks tend to contain more sugar and are higher in calories, increasing the risk of putting on weight.
Periodontitis or gum disease is a real problem, and is one of the reasons that Leeds City Dentalcare requests patient’s book regular check-ups and professional cleanings. Dr David Brown or any of our dentists will be able to detect the early signs of gum disease before it progresses into periodontal disease. The early stages of gum disease or gingivitis are pretty easy to treat, and simply require that you pay much closer attention to your daily oral routine and that you brush and floss more thoroughly than before. Our dentist in Leeds are always more than willing to help patients improve on brushing techniques, as even if you think you’re doing a good job it can be easy to miss areas of the mouth, allowing this disease to gain a foothold.