The ill effect of obesity on dental health

The ill effect of obesity on dental health

Obesity is defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation in the body. Even though factors like genes and hormonal changes also impact on body weight, obesity occurs due to more calorie intake than you burn.

Needless to say, obese people are susceptible to chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular diseases, gallbladder diseases, etc.

Do you believe that obesity has ill effects on your oral health also? Various studies show that people with severe obesity have 3x more chances of developing gum diseases.

What is periodontal (gum) disease?

Gum disease is an inflammatory condition that infects the gum tissues that hold teeth in their places. It begins with microbial invasion on the gum tissues. Improper brushing and flossing tend to develop a sticky film of bacteria on teeth. If the microbial attack is partnered with habits like smoking, health conditions like diabetes, obesity or others, the infection in the gums will progress faster.

In such cases, the gum diseases show symptoms like

  • Bad breath
  • Puffy gums
  • Bleeding in gums
  • Gum recession
  • Teeth sensitivity
  • Painful chewing

If it is left untreated, it will succumb to the underlying layers and even reach the bone that supports the teeth. In such cases, tooth loss is inevitable hence you should get treatments like deep teeth cleaning, root planing or other appropriate gum disease treatments.

How does obesity cause gum diseases?

If you look at the diet of people suffering from obesity, the foods are high in carbohydrates but low in nutrients. Frequent consumption of foods with low nutritional value will compromise the immune system so that it cannot fight against the disease-causing agents including gum disease pathogens.

The other thing that links obesity and periodontal disease is inflammation. The fat cells in the body elevate chemical signals and hormones. Such abnormal changes affect metabolism so that inflammation increases. Once swelling in the gums happens, blood flow to the gum tissues decreases thusly the infection in the gums precipitates.

On the other hand, attributes like increased body mass index (BMI), serum lipid levels, subcutaneous body fat, and other attributes linked to obesity upset the activities of adipose tissue-derived cytokines. Those cytokines protect the body from inflammatory conditions like periodontitis.

Similarly, the imbalance in free radicals and antioxidant defenses due to poor diet tends to gum tissue destruction. It eventually ends in periodontal diseases.

What should an obese person do to reverse gum diseases?

Periodontal disease can be reversed if it is diagnosed and treated early. Besides dental treatments, the patient should indulge in activities to reduce overweight. Prefer healthy food choices, avoid sugary foods and importantly, carry out more physical activities to burn the excess calories.

Remember that the consumption of nutritious foods, vegetables, and healthy drinks benefits your oral health as well as prevents obesity. In the meantime, you should take care of your oral health with proper dental hygiene routine activities like brushing twice a day, and cleaning the interdental spaces with flossing wire, water flossers, or other appliances.

Gum disease is triggered by various abnormal health conditions like autoimmune diseases, diabetes, obesity, etc. They are quite serious but preventable with clinical solutions and a multitude of self-care activities as we discussed here.   

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