Obesity and Gum Disease. Is there a Connection?


At Gentle Dental Care in Plainville CT we treat many patients from across CT under sedation dentistry and sleep dentistry. Many of our medically ill patients are clinically obese. These patients have a much higher incidence of medical problems in general than patients who are more height/weight proportionate. This problem affects their dental sedation as well as increasing the incidence of other dental diseases..

Obesity related health problems have become reaching epidemic proportions over the last 15 years…and the trend doesn’t appear to be reversing itself. We researched literature from the Center for Disease Control which indicates childhood obesity has more than tripled since 1980. Furthermore 69% of adults in the United States today are considered “overweight” according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Here at Gentle Dental Care in Plainville, CT, we understand it’s no secret that obesity is associated with a variety of medical problems including heart disease, arthritis, pregnancy related issues and diabetes- but, did you know that obesity can dramatically affect your oral health as well?

Dr. Peltzer is dramatically aware that with the increasing number of overweight adults each year, multiple studies are being conducted to investigate the relationship between obesity and periodontal disease. The conclusions may be a surprise to you.

As you already know, periodontal disease is an oral, chronic bacterial infection that affects your gum tissue and eventually infects your jawbone that holds your teeth in place. 

If gum disease is affecting you (and it is usually a silent killer of jawbone) you may be dealing with changes in your bite, loose teeth, persistent bad breath, inflammation, and bleeding gums. Talk with us at Gentle Dental Care today if any of these symptoms apply to you, because untreated gum disease can lead to much more serious issues, ranging from tooth loss and the need for full dentures to early heart disease.

Recently, a study at the Massachusetts General Hospital showed that overweight individuals are twice as likely to be diagnosed with gum disease. Secondly those patients who are considered to be “obese” are three times as likely. This clearly is a much bigger than the public realizes.

You may ask, “What is the connection between gum disease and being overweight? Most researchers suggest that fat cells produce many chemical signals and hormones that can increase inflammation in the body. This decreases the effectiveness of your immune system which increases your susceptibility to periodontal disease.

Other possibilities relate to the eating habits of overweight people and their increased accumulation of plaque on teeth and gums which results in gingivitis and periodontitis becoming inevitable.

The choice as to whether you develop gum disease is “up to you.” Periodontal disease is an elective disease. Stay healthy, keep your weight proportionate to your height, maintain meticulous dental hygiene with flossing and brushing. Be certain to schedule regular cleanings and checkups to avoid bigger problems. What your mom told you is true- an ounce of prevention IS worth more than a pound of cure. 

This video discusses the relationship of obesity to gum disease. If eventually periodontal treatment is needed, our team can help.

Visit us at: www.ConnecticutSedationDentist.com or call 860-747-5711

About Dr. Thomas J. Peltzer, DMD

Dr. Peltzer is a Sedation Dental Specialist serving patients throughout the state of CT, MA, RI and NY.
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