Dental World

The link between obesity and gum disease

obesity and gum disease

Gum disease is an inflammation of gums and the surrounding tissues that support your teeth, leading to bone and tooth loss. Gum diseases causes damage to the soft tissues and eventually, the infection reaches the bone that support the teeth. The infection is usually caused by dental plaque, and research suggests that the bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cause respiratory disease, coronary artery disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.

The mild form of gum disease is called gingivitis; however, periodontitis is irreversible. When the bacteria build up in the mouth increases, there is an inflammatory response, where the gums swell and pull away from the teeth. Pockets are formed where food gets stuck, leading to an infection. The longer this remains untreated, the deeper the pockets become.

Treatment of periodontal disease

The initial treatment consists of removing the tartar and plaque from the teeth and cleaning the pockets filled with food particles, bacteria, and infection. This is done by a periodontist, opposed to a regular dentist. After this, treatment to restore the bone and bone that has been lost is undertaken. Recovery time depends on how well you maintain oral hygiene post-treatment.


What does gum disease look like?

  • Swollen tender gums
  • Bad breath
  • Sensitivity
  • Bleeding gums
  • Receding gum lines
  • Change in teeth spacing and bite.
  • loose teeth
  • pain when chewing


Leading causes of periodontitis include:

  • Old age
  • Genetics
  • Consumption of tobacco products
  • stress
  • poor nutrition and obesity


gum disease


Let us look at the connection between periodontal disease and obesity.


People suffering from obesity are considered to be at high risk for developing conditions such as periodontitis. A recent study shows that people with obesity had double the chances of developing periodontitis, while those with sever obesity had triple the chance of developing obesity.

Gum disease and obesity are linked in various ways.

First, if you have a low nutrient diet, your immune system is weak and finds it tough to fight infections, and periodontitis starts off as an infection.

Secondly, Activities of proteins such as adipose tissue driven cytokines and hormones are associated with increased risk of developing periodontitis. Some cytokines protect from inflammation, while some promote inflammation, which is an important link to periodontitis. Inflammation also reduces blood flow to the gums, making them more vulnerable to gum disease.

Thirdly, Increased sugar consumption is associated with both periodontal disease and obesity.

Fourthly, the relation between obesity and periodontal disease is not a simple cause and effect situation. The general health of the patient is an important factor when trying to address gum issues. Obesity, coupled with poor dental hygiene and smoking can impact gum health and increase the already high chances of periodontal disease.


How to prevent obesity and gum disease?


Obesity, when seen from an objective lens is simply an imbalance between calorie consumption and calories burned. So, in order to prevent obesity induced periodontal disease, you need to adhere to a lifestyle that is driven by a healthy diet and exercise. Consistent and daily limiting of sugary and fatty food not only reduces obesity but promotes good oral health. A vitamin rich diet can keep your bones, gums and teeth strong.

Oral hygiene plays an important role. Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing after meals are non-negotiable. Also do not forget to visit your dentist for regular check-ups.

If you think you are at risk of developing gum disease, visit us at Dental World and book a consultation with our periodontist right away. Obesity and Gum disease are preventable and most of the symptoms can be stopped just by changing lifestyle habits and maintaining good oral hygiene.

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