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Healthy behaviors equal healthy gums

When you work hard to maintain a healthy weight, eat healthy foods and get adequate exercise you'll be rewarded, not just with better overall health, but also with healthier gums.

Researchers from Case School of Medicine, Case School of Dental Medicine and King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia studied data from the third U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Data collected on more than 12,000 participants were used to estimate the association between three health-enhancing behaviors and prevalence of periodontal disease-a condition that can lead to tooth loss.

Health-enhancing behaviors were defined as maintaining a normal weight, participating in five or more episodes of moderate activity or three vigorous episodes of activity per week, and having a healthy eating index of greater than 80.

Researchers controlled data for age, gender, race/ethnicity, tobacco use, education, poverty index, vitamin use, diabetes, length of time since last dental visit, dental calculus and gingival bleeding.

Participants who engaged in three health-enhancing behaviors were 40 percent less likely to have periodontitis than those who maintained none of them. Those with two health-enhancing behaviors reduced their risk by 29 percent, those with one healthy behavior by 16 percent.

Please contact the ADA if you have questions about this article.

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