Do you feel about as stuffed as that turkey that was on the table this Thanksgiving? In the height of holiday season the last thing we want to think about is our weight. Usually it isn’t until the new year approaches and we start feeling a little extra tightness in the waistband that we consider making a resolution to exercise, diet, and lose weight. However, weight loss is a good thing to keep in mind right through the holidays, especially as NY Dental professionals ponder new information from a recent study revealing an alarming connection between obesity and gum disease.
In the study, 31 overweight individuals who had gum disease were given the same periodontal care. However, a control group underwent gastric bypass surgery to facilitate weight loss. After a period of time, all participants’ gum conditions had improved some due to the periodontal care. However, those who had enjoyed weight loss due to the surgery showed far greater improvement in overall gum health, reduction of inflammation, and a marked decrease in glucose levels.
Inflammation of the gums can lead to harmful effects over time, causing bone erosion and tooth loss. It also allows harmful oral bacteria to enter the blood stream. This bacteria has been linked to diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, and other conditions.
One of the theories scientists propose for the connection between obesity and oral health is that excessive fat cells, called adipocytes, create more cytokines which reduce the ability of insulin to properly deal with sugars in the body. The result is elevated sugar in the blood stream which presents a constant assault on the gums and teeth. Other studies show that the blood vessels in the mouth show thickening in obese individuals, which decreases blood flow to the tissues. Reduced blood flow allows bacteria to stagnate without being removed by the immune cells in the body.
In earlier dental news, previous studies confirm the findings of this latest research, and there are many convincing factors that explain the connection. Not only does obesity promote periodontal disease, but it also increases risk of adult onset diabetes, which in turn has its own gum disease risks.
So, as you enjoy your holiday goodies, keep in mind moderation is always a good habit. Start planning today for a weight loss program that includes healthy eating and regular exercise. A healthy wight not only makes you feel better, but your mouth will thank you as well. Making an appointment with your dental care professional wouldn’t be a bad New Year resolution either!