Is There A Link Between Obesity And Oral Health?


Is There A Link Between Obesity And Oral Health? 

By Lucy Wyndham

Around the world, obesity is becoming a topic of conversation at government level and in many countries is considered an epidemic. Furthermore, an alarming correlation between obesity and oral health has come to light, where there are clear signs of periodontal disease in those who have a BMI (body mass index) of more than 30. While there are some aspects of the study that make the findings somewhat unclear, such as how gender, age, smoking history, and genetics affect the findings, there are a number of reasons to consider a lifestyle change

The Answer Might Lie In The Diet 

Participants in the study who were in the obese group showed higher levels of sugar and at intake, which are both ingredients that encourage periodontal disease. When the diet is filled up with all these empty calories, it’s also unlikely that the participant will want to have foods that provide sufficient micronutrients, which are important for gum health and to prevent cavities. An excess of adipose tissue is considered a sign that the participant will have a problem with periodontal disease, and it’s prevalent in those who fall within the obese category. 

Bacteria At The Heart Of The Study 

The saliva of a group of women with a BMI of between 27 and 32 was sent for analysis and the outcome revealed a bacteria, Selenomonas noxia, in 98.4% of the subjects’ samples. A high glycemic diet is considered to be at the heart of this bacteria formation, and also happens to be the food most often associated with those considered overweight or obese. According to industry professionals, one of the fastest ways to tackle both the prevalence of oral bacteria and obesity is to make certain lifestyle changes that include changing out foods that ferment easily and change to simple sugars in the mouth. Refined carbohydrates are right at the top of the list, along with foods that are already sugars. 

It Starts From A Young Age 

Possibly one of the most disturbing aspects of the study is the revelation that this link in obesity and dental hygiene starts from an early age. A study found that teenagers that fall within the overweight and obese categories have a higher number of caries than those considered to have a normal BMI. Other studies, however, didn’t find a link between BMI and caries in children at all, which places a slight hesitation on linking oral health to obesity in children. For example, a 2019 systematic review of 7 studies found that 5 showed no relationship between BMI and caries. There is, however, the studies that find that a diet high in sugar and refined carbs to have an effect on both dental hygiene and the level of obesity in children. Education, therefore, is an important component in the overall maintenance of oral health and keeping body mass within normal ranges. 

For those who struggle with their weight and their dental hygiene, there might be a link in the food they eat. While studies are not yet conclusive, keeping an eye on the amount of sugar and refined carbohydrates should help substantially in terms of bringing weight down and reducing bacteria in the saliva.

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