Obesity is a growing problem in our nation. In the United States alone, an estimated 36.5% of adults are obese, and another 32.5% are overweight. There are many health issues associated with obesity, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and coronary heart disease. Another health risk that many people don’t know to be linked with obesity is gum disease.

As dentists, we here at Advanced Indiana are well aware of the link between gum disease and obesity. Today, we’ll be explaining this link and giving you tips as to some of the best ways to both treat and prevent gum disease. With this information, we hope you’ll understand why caring not only for your oral health but also your physical health is so important.

What is Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease)?

Gum disease, otherwise known as periodontal disease, is the presence of ongoing bacterial infections that can significantly impact the tissue surrounding and supporting the teeth. There are a variety of factors that can put someone at risk for developing gum disease. A few of the most common factors include poor dental hygiene, diabetes, age, certain medications, and, as we’ll explain in-depth, obesity.

When bacteria is left to build up on the teeth, an inflammatory response is triggered. When this happens, the gums begin to pull away from the teeth and swell up. Soon, a pocket forms, which is filled with infection. The longer that gum disease is left untreated, the deeper and more severe these pockets become. While gum disease presents an obvious risk to your overall oral health, it has also been linked as a risk factor leading to various other health issues, including stroke, respiratory disease, and heart disease.

What is the Connection Between Gum Disease and Obesity?

According to recent studies, it has been observed that people with excess weight have double the incidence of gum disease. People with severe obesity, on the other hand, experienced triple the occurrence. But what is the reason for this increased risk of gum disease in those who are obese?

This link is thought to be based upon the fact that fat cells produce an increased number of chemical signals in the body. Often associated with the overall inflammation in the body, this response is known for decreasing immunity. When immunity decreases, the chances of suffering from gum disease become higher. Additionally, it is believed that the body’s inflammation response also reduces blood flow to the gums, making them more vulnerable to infection.

Another factor contributing to the link between obesity and gum disease is increased sugar consumption, which is common in those who are obese. The more sugar that is consumed, the higher the chances of bacteria build-up. Watching your sugar intake is one of the primary ways to prevent both obesity and gum disease. But what else can you do to decrease your chances of experiencing gum disease?

How to Prevent Gum Disease

As any knowledgeable dentist will tell you, overall good health is necessary to exhibit good oral health. For this reason, some of the main ways to prevent gum disease are to avoid risk factors that can be damaging to your health in various ways.

Overall, living a healthy lifestyle that is free from excessive sugar consumption and the use of tobacco, as well as practicing good dental hygiene, goes a long way in preventing gum disease. Regarding the link between obesity and gum disease, you should do all that you can to live as healthy a lifestyle as possible, including adequate exercise and a healthy diet. This is key in not only preventing obesity but gum disease.

How is Gum Disease Treated?

If you or someone you know is suffering from gum disease, you may be curious about how it is treated. When it comes to treating gum disease, the goal is always to halt the progression of the disease. By pinpointing treatment efforts in this way, you can work to improve the health of your gums. In more severe cases of gum disease, restoring supporting structures such as the bone or gum that has been lost is necessary.

When treating gum disease, treatment starts by cleaning both the tartar and plaque from the teeth and gums. Next, bacteria and infection are scraped from the pockets that have formed in the gums. Following treatment, you must follow proper oral hygiene guidelines to prevent further infection. Sometimes it is required that you seek treatment with an experienced periodontist rather than a general dentist. Still, again, this is in more severe cases of gum disease.

Work to Prevent Gum Disease with Advanced Indiana

Now that you know the link between gum disease and obesity, as well as the health risks caused by gum disease, it’s time to take the next step to prevent this health issue. Here at Advanced Indiana, we specialize in periodontal gum disease treatments for those suffering from gum disease. Eighty-five percent of patients diagnosed at an early stage of infection will see an improvement quickly when treatment is provided – so don’t delay!

As experienced dentists, we believe in the power of oral hygiene and a healthy lifestyle. We want to support you in doing the most that you can for your oral health. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you. You can also book an appointment online to be seen by our knowledgeable and efficient staff. We look forward to helping you do more to prevent gum disease!

Photo credit: Photo by Anna Tarazevich from Pexels