Many medical professionals consider obesity to be a chronic dis¬ease. It is well understood that younger and younger members of our community are becoming obese due to poor nutrition and eating habits. Research has demonstrated that obesity will increase the risk for hypertension, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, CVD, respiratory problems, and endometrial, breast, prostate, and colon cancers.1 It has also been demonstrated in a recent research study that obesity also increases the risk for periodontal disease, and it may be insulin resistance that regu¬lates the relationship between obesity and periodontal disease.1 It has also been found that individuals with elevated body mass indices (BMI) produce a higher level of inflammatory proteins.1
It is very critical for individuals to understand the obesity epidemic and to take proactive steps in addressing this issue with themselves and family members who are obese. Good nutrition and exercise should be stressed and individuals should be educated on the role that obesity may play in the development of diabetes, CVD and cancer.
The dental professional will take a thorough medical history and review any medical issues which may point to the cause for the obesity and refer the patient to his/her physician for evaluation. The oral health status will also be evaluated and treatment rendered based on the diagnosis. Emphasis will be placed on the reduction of the plaque and accompanying inflammation, both above and below the gumline. Home care should be reinforced, and patients should be encouraged to floss regularly and to brush twice daily with a toothpaste that offers antibacterial protection.
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1. Grand Rounds in Oral and Systemic Medicine Vol.1, No 2, 2006, pp. 36 - 47