Common gum disease linked to obesity

Obesity and gum (periodontal) disease are among the most common diseases in the United States.

In a new study, researchers found that these chronic conditions may be related. This new study explores the effect of obesity on gum disease care and examines the connection between the two conditions.

The research was conducted by a team at the Case Western Reserve University.

According to the team, the connection between obesity and gum disease isn’t as simple as cause-and-effect.

Instead, the relationship centers on what both diseases have in common: inflammation.

Examining a plethora of existing studies, the researchers found that data showing increased body mass index, waist circumference and percentage of body fat to be linked to an increased risk to develop gum disease, also known as periodontitis.

Most studies analyzed data from population subsets at one point in time, as opposed to studying the same population over a longer period.

They concluded that changes in body chemistry affect metabolism, which, in turn, causes inflammation.

The team says gum disease occurs in patients more susceptible to inflammation—who are also more susceptible to obesity.

This information can inform how health-care professionals plan treatments for patients suffering from obesity and/or gum disease.

Oral health-care doctors need to be aware of the complexity of obesity to counsel their patients about the importance of appropriate body weight and maintaining good oral hygiene.

The team says further research on the relationship between gum disease and obesity is needed. At this point, there is still limited evidence to recommend changes in treatment planning.

One author of the study is Andres Pinto, professor of oral and maxillofacial medicine and diagnostic sciences School of Dental Medicine.

The study is published in the British Dental Journal.

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