Can Obesity Cause Gum Disease?
Obesity can increase your risk for gum disease. First, if your diet is low in nutrients, your immune system might be compromised and thus have difficulty fighting off infection—and gum disease starts as an infection. According to a report published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, obesity in children and adults can lead to gum disease. Beyond an unhealthy diet, several different factors may link these conditions. According to research published in the British Dental Journal, “increased body mass index, waist circumference, percentage of subcutaneous body fat, and serum lipid levels are associated with increased risk to develop periodontitis,” which is due to activities of specific proteins called adipose tissue-derived cytokines and hormones. Some cytokines protect the body from inflammation while others promote the development of inflammation, an important link to periodontitis. Further, oxidative stress, which is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidant defenses, can also lead to gum tissue destruction. Thus, diets rich in antioxidants could potentially help reduce the risk and progression of gum disease.
Like periodontal disease, obesity is also a growing epidemic. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this disease has tripled since 1975, and hundreds of millions of people worldwide have this condition. It can lead to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers. Luckily, it’s preventable—which can, in turn, reduce your risk for periodontal disease.