The Link Between Gum Disease And Obesity

Written By Kevin Kerfoot / Reviewed By Ray Spotts

Gum disease and obesity may be related – although the connection between obesity and gum disease isn't as simple as cause-and-effect. A new study shows the effect of obesity on non-surgical periodontal care and evaluates potential pathways that may illustrate the connection between the two conditions. This relationship centers on what both diseases have in common, which is inflammation. By examining existing studies, the researchers found that data showing increased body mass index, waist circumference and percentage of body fat is associated with an increased risk to develop gum disease.

The study’s conclusion - published in the British Dental Journal - is that changes in body chemistry affect metabolism, which causes inflammation present in both disorders. This information will help how health-care professionals plan treatments for patients suffering from obesity and/or gum disease. Further research on the relationship between gum disease and obesity is needed because of limited evidence to recommend changes in treatment planning. "Periodontal disease occurs in patients more susceptible to inflammation who are also more susceptible to obesity," says Andres Pinto, study co-author and professor of oral and maxillofacial medicine and diagnostic sciences at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine. "Oral health-care professionals need to be aware of the complexity of obesity to counsel their patients about the importance of an appropriate body weight and maintaining good oral hygiene. There is a thought, from the clinical perspective, that if you treat one of the issues, it may impact the other. This is the big question. For example, if we treat obesity successfully, will this impact periodontal disease to the point of being of clinical relevance compared to control population. The jury is still out given the paucity of controlled, well designed, clinical trials on this issue."

Can Tooth Health Indicate Diabetes Risk?

A recent study suggested that poor dental health may be linked with increased risk for diabetes. Researchers with Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, Calif. took a look at the impact of glucose tolerance on dental health in a representative population in the United States reviewing the records of 9,670 adults 20 years of age and above who were examined by dentists during the 2009-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They analyzed their reported body mass index (BMI) and glucose tolerance states by fasting plasma glucose, two-hour post challenge plasma glucose, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), established diabetes and whether the condition was treated with oral agents or insulin.

The researchers recorded the numbers of missing teeth due to caries or cavities and periodontal disease for individual patients. They determined the relationship between glucose tolerance and dental condition by considering age, gender, racial and ethnic group, family history of diabetes, smoking status, alcohol consumption, education and poverty index. They found a progressive increase in the number of patients with missing teeth as glucose tolerance declined, from 45.57 percent in the group with normal glucose tolerance (NGT), to 67.61 percent in the group with abnormal glucose tolerance (AGT), to 82.87 percent in the group with diabetes mellitus (DM). Except for gender, all other covariates had significant impact on the number of missing teeth. The differences in the average number of missing teeth among the three glucose tolerance groups were significant: 2.26 in the NGT group, 4.41 in the AGT group and 6.80 in those with DM.

As far back as the 1930s, periodontal disease and dental caries have been suggested to be linked with diabetes, and that that by 2050, one-third of Americans are expected to be affected by diabetes. "The health of your teeth maybe a sign of your risk for diabetes," says lead author Raynald Samoa, M.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism at City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, Calif. "Our findings suggest that dental exams may provide a way to identify someone at risk for developing diabetes. We found a progressive positive relationship between worsening glucose tolerance and the number of missing teeth. Although a causal relationship cannot be inferred from this cross-sectional study, it demonstrates that poor dental outcome can be observed before the onset of overt diabetes."

Looking for a 100% all-natural liquid tooth oil and mouth rinse? Check out OraMD Original Strength and OraMD Extra Strength. Subscribe to our Trusted Health Club newsletter for more information about natural living tips, natural health, oral health and skincare. If you are looking for more health resources make sure to check out the Trusted Health Resources list. 

Written By:

With over 30 years of writing and editing experience for newspapers, magazines and corporate communications, Kevin Kerfoot writes about natural health, nutrition, skincare and oral hygiene for Trusted Health Products’ natural health blog and newsletters.

Reviewed By:

Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.

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