As our team of Lakewood, Colorado dentists have covered many times before in our Advanced Family Dental blog, a connection exists between our oral and overall health. While it might seem like brushing, flossing, and regularly visiting the dentist can only benefit the health of our teeth and gums, decades worth of research has found that simply untrue.
Over the years, studies have found that patients who deal with tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss have a higher risk for developing a number of chronic illnesses that range from heart disease and stroke to diabetes and dementia.
An inverse relationship also seems to exists between certain types of inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, and an increased risk for gum disease.
For example, gum disease and obesity rank as two of the most common diseases in the U.S., and studies suggest they may be connected. One recent study examined the effect of obesity on non-surgical gum disease treatments to evaluate potential links that may connect these two seemingly unrelated conditions.
The Link Between Gum Disease and Obesity
The connection between gum disease and obesity isn’t one that forms a clear cause-and-effect relationship, stated researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine in a study published in the British Dental Journal.
Instead, the research team focused on what both conditions have in common: inflammation.
Researchers examined years’ worth of additional studies and discovered data that showed increased body mass index, percentage of body fat, and waist size to all be linked to an increased risk for the development of gum disease. Most of the studies analyzed by researchers collected data from population subsets during one specific time period, rather than studying one population group over an extended period of time.
Based on the data, researchers determined that body chemistry changes can affect the body’s metabolism, which can then cause inflammation to develop. As mentioned before, inflammation is the common thread that ties together these two diseases.
This creates the type of inverse relationship we mentioned earlier, where gum disease occurs more frequently in patients susceptible to inflammation, who then in turn are more susceptible to obesity.
So, what does this mean in terms of protecting your oral health?
First, this study underscores the importance of how outside factors such as weight gain can play a negative role on our oral health. Even for patients who make brushing, flossing, and visiting our team of Lakewood, Colorado dentists a regular occurrence, their gum disease risk can still increase due to other health areas they may not even realize.
To enjoy a great looking smile for a lifetime, a more holistic approach is needed.
Protecting the Health of Your Smile
While brushing and flossing daily remain as the two best habits for protecting the health of your teeth, these habits alone can’t provide the protection needed. When weight gain can increase the risk for gum disease, a more full body approach is required.
In addition to practicing quality oral hygiene at home, patients also need to focus on eating a balanced diet, receiving regular exercise, and scheduling frequent exams and cleanings with our team of Lakewood, Colorado dentists.
Only by focusing on the body as a whole can we hope to achieve the quality oral health that comes from enjoying quality health overall.
If you have any questions about the role gum disease can play in effecting our overall health, make sure to ask any one of our doctors during your next visit to Advanced Family Dental.