It’s been suggested for awhile now that there is a link between obesity and gum disease. There are already links between diabetes and gum disease, and of course, there are links between obesity and diabetes, so one would think that conclusively means there is a link between obesity and gum disease. However, there has been no actual evidence to link gum disease to obesity until now.
Researchers from Case Western Reserve University have found the link between obesity and gum disease by the underlying inflammatory processes found in both conditions.
“Obese individuals’ bodies relentlessly produce cytokines, proteins with inflammatory properties. These cytokines may directly injure the gum tissue or reduce blood flow to the gum tissue, thus promoting the development of gum disease,” explained Dr. Charlene Krejci, the study’s lead author and associate professor at the university.
“Whether one condition is a risk factor for the other or whether one disease directly causes the other has not yet been determined,” said Dr. Samer G. Shamoon, representative of the Academy of General Dentistry. “What we do know is that it’s important to visit a dentist at least twice a year so he or she can evaluate your risk for developing gum disease and offer preventive strategies,” he added.
In other words, they cannot conclusively state that obesity or gum disease causes the other to occur. They have only found proof of a link between the two, which will lead to further research into whether obesity causes gum disease or vice versa.
Obesity, unfortunately, causes several health complications and has been extensively linked to diabetes and cardiovascular disease. These links have also been found with cytokine production.
The study, titled “Obesity and Periodontitis: A Link,” was published in the January issue of the General Dentistry journal.