Overweight may be a risk factor for gum disease
CLEVELAND, Ohio, USA: Overweight and periodontitis can affect overall health significantly and it has already been suggested that both diseases are associated. Now, researchers have found new evidence that obesity is closely linked to gum disease by underlying inflammatory processes.
In order to understand these inflammatory pathways better, researchers from Case Western Reserve University reviewed the current literature available on the association between the two diseases.
"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.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of the U.S. population (35.7 percent) is obese. In 2008, medical costs associated with obesity were estimated at $147 billion. In addition, the agency estimates that periodontitis affects about 50 percent of U.S. citizens aged 30 and over. The chronic infection may also cause other inflammatory diseases in the body, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease, by producing these cytokines.
The study, titled "Obesity and Periodontitis: A Link," was published in the January issue of the General Dentistry journal.