You may already know that obesity can lead to a number of deadly health problems; but did you know it can also impact your dental health? Here’s how your weight can affect your teeth and gums, along with some tips for adopting a healthier lifestyle that will preserve your smile.
An Increased Risk of Gum Disease
According to research, there is a strong correlation between obesity and gum inflammation. Also known as gum disease or periodontitis, gum inflammation is a serious issue that can ultimately lead to tooth and bone loss.
The Mayo Clinic reports that the bacteria responsible for gum inflammation can also enter your bloodstream, possibly impacting other parts of your body. For instance, gum disease has been linked to coronary artery disease, rheumatoid arthritis, respiratory disease and difficulties controlling blood sugar in people with diabetes.
Just like smoking, obesity appears to be a major risk factor for oral disease, according to researchers. Since adipose tissue is an active endocrine organ, it performs many critical functions in the body, including thermal protection and isolation, secretion and storage.
Known as adipocytes, the cells of fat tissue secrete numerous biologically active molecules, which modulate reactions occurring in the body. While they can’t say for sure, experts believe these important biological actions are a big reason why people with higher body mass indexes (BMIs) are more likely to develop serious health issues, including stroke, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and diseases of the oral cavity.
Taking Steps to Reduce Your Risk
Obesity has developed into an epidemic and public health concern in the United States and several other countries throughout the world. Because obesity can impact oral health, dentists are working harder to educate patients on the importance of maintaining a healthy weight.
According to studies, there is a very clear association between obesity and oral health, ranging from periodontal disease and dental caries to maxillofacial and oral surgical procedures. With this in mind, it’s clear that keeping a healthy weight is key to preserving your oral health and overall well-being.
If you struggle to maintain a healthy weight, try to substitute high-calorie foods with more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. In addition to providing important nutrients, these low-glycemic foods have lots of slow-digesting fiber, which prevents insulin spikes and keeps you feeling fuller longer.
If you are overweight, it may be a good idea to visit the dentist more often to look for early signs of cavities and gum disease. The sooner your dentist is able to identify a potential problem; the sooner he or she will be able to provide an effective treatment that will help preserve your oral health.