Obesity and Gum Disease
What’s the connection between being overweight and gum disease?
Most research suggests that fat cells produce many chemical signals and hormones that can increase inflammation in the body, decrease the effectiveness of your immune system, and increase your susceptibility to periodontal disease.
Other research points to the possible eating habits of overweight people and the connections to simple sugars that our mouths convert to plaque. As plaque accumulates on teeth and gums, gingivitis (gum inflammation) will lead to periodontal disease (infection of the tissues that support your teeth), and then to the more advanced periodontitis (gums and bone that support the teeth can become seriously damaged).
Obesity is related to gum disease through the pathway of insulin resistance (pre-diabetes), which is a condition in which the body does not respond well to the action of insulin.
There’s a relationship between obesity, insulin resistance, and periodontal disease in a very large segment of our society. This relationship is important because obesity is an important risk factor for Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It is possible that periodontal disease increases the likelihood of their manifestation because bacteria from the mouth can cause infection in other parts of the body when the immune system has been compromised.
Understanding the relationship between obesity and the risk factors that lead to periodontal disease is very important. With the increasing rate of child and adolescent obesity, the prevalence of periodontal disease will follow. Oral health is essential to general health and well-being at every stage of life, of course. But, especially when it comes to kids, the habits of a good diet and healthy mouth enables not only nutrition of the physical body, but also enhances their social interaction and promotes self-esteem and feelings of well-being.
Everyone knows that a balanced, nutritious diet is essential to healthy living. Our mouths, teeth, and gums are more than just tools for eating. They’re essential for chewing and swallowing—the first steps in the digestion process. The mouth is the body’s initial point of contact with the nutrients we consume. So what you put in your mouth impacts not only your general health but also that of your teeth and gums. In fact, if your nutrition is poor, the first signs often show up in your oral health.
Healthy teeth. Healthy body.