Is Your Weight Linked to Your Dental Health?

When you think about visiting the periodontist, are you thinking about the numbers on your bathroom scale? Maybe you should!

In a study published in the Journal of Dental Research, researchers discovered that the kind of chronic inflammation caused by obesity could produce the types of cells that break down the important jawbone tissue that help keep our teeth in place. As summarized by the University of Buffalo, “this research promotes the concept that myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) expansion during obesity to become osteoclasts during periodontitis (severe gum disease) is tied to increased alveolar bone destruction. Taken together, this data supports the view that obesity raises the risk of periodontal bone loss.”

In another report on the relationship between periodontitis and obesity in GUM®, the writer states that “abundant fat cells produce levels of cytokines which trigger a systemic inflammatory response as well as insulin resistance. As a result, the oral cavity, which is densely populated with bacteria, becomes susceptible to gum infection, which intensifies when the infected tissues produce their own cytokines.”

Losing Weight

We already know that obesity is linked to numerous chronic health concerns. Being severely overweight is a risk factor for many conditions including high blood pressure, stroke, certain types of cancer and more. It may be easier said than done, but the following tips may help you shed pounds, look and feel better and help improve your oral health:

  • Increase fruits and vegetables
  • Decrease trans-fat and sugar intake
  • Limit fast food consumption
  • Increase water intake
  • Increase wholegrain and fiber intake
  • Eat more fish and foods higher in essential omega-3 fatty acids
  • Exercise. Exercise. And exercise some more!

Keeping Your Mouth Healthy

As periodontists, we aren’t weight loss or exercise experts. But we strongly suggest that individuals who struggle with weight gain consider all the possible detrimental effects the extra pounds could have on your oral and systemic health. The CDC offers tips on losing weight, nutrition and physical activity.

Talk your medical practitioner and, if you suspect you have gum disease, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment at one of our two convenient locations, NE Philadelphia (215-677-8686) or Ambler, PA (215-643-4393).