It’s estimated that as many as half of the American population aged 30 and older – about 90 million people, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures – may be affected by gum disease, the latest health risk that has been linked to obesity.
Now, in addition to well-established connections to cancer and heart disease, obesity is suspected as a risk factor for the inflammation that stems from gingivitis and periodontitus, according to a new study published in the journal General Dentistry.
“We know that being overweight can affect many aspects of a person’s health,” said Charlene Krejci, D.D.S., an associate clinical professor of periodontics at Case Western Reserve University, who led the study. “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.”
In addition to cytokines produced by obesity, Krejci said gum disease creates cytokines of its own and thus increases inflammation that can enter the bloodstream and affect other parts of the body.
During February, when both American Heart Month and National Cancer Prevention Month are observed, much attention is placed on the effect that obesity has on health conditions that include heart disease, cancer and diabetes. With the latest study, additional focus extends to the prevalence of gum disease and what can be done to prevent it.
Just as certain types of food cause people to put on weight, sugary and acidic foods and beverages can do great harm to the teeth. Without good dental hygiene, gum disease – gingivitis and the more serious periodontitis – can also develop.
The inflammation that comes with the condition also impacts the support structure that connects the teeth to the bone. When left untreated, gum disease can lead to permanent tooth loss, because the gums are no longer able to hold the teeth in place.
Beside eating a healthy diet that supports strong bone and teeth health, taking dietary supplements such as Calmax from Dr. Newton’s Naturals fortifies the body with high amounts of calcium and magnesium. To lower the risk of gum disease caused by a weight problem, Dr. Newton’s Skinny D is a concentrate that allows individuals to replace one meal a day with a 10-calorie serving that helps stop sugar cravings.