Obesity and Gum Disease


It’s a sad but true fact: obesity is an all-too-common condition for an increasing number of people throughout the US. And considering how many other health issues are associated with obesity, it’s no wonder that medical professionals consider it to be a chronic disease. Obesity increases your risk for a wide variety of other medical conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, hypertension, respiratory issues, and numerous cancers – including colon, breast, prostate, and others. Recent studies show that obesity also increases your chance of developing gum disease. In fact, people with a high BMI (body mass index) have been shown to have a higher level of inflammatory proteins than those with a lower BMI. This, combined with insulin resistance, makes it much more likely for obese people to develop periodontal disease.

The good news is that you can take steps to resolve the situation. If you are obese, the first and most important step you can take is to speak to your doctor about the most effective, safest way to lose weight. It’s never a good idea to simply launch into a new diet or exercise routine without checking with your doctor first. If you do, you run the risk of making food choices that are less than healthy and/or beginning an exercise routine that might be too vigorous for you. The road to a healthy weight takes time, but it is most definitely well worth the effort.

Fortunately, enjoying good oral health is somewhat easier. Once again, the first and most important step is to contact your dentist and schedule an appointment for an oral exam and professional cleaning. During this routine visit, your dentist and hygienist can assess your current oral health. In addition to having your teeth cleaned and polished, most routine dental visits include x-rays (as needed), a visual exam and oral cancer screening by your dentist, and measuring of gum pockets surrounding your teeth by your hygienist. The depth of these gum pockets speak volumes about the current health of your gum tissue. Generally speaking, the deeper the pockets, the less healthy your gums are. If you have gum disease, your dentist can recommend the appropriate procedures to help reverse the condition. This, combined with maintaining an excellent oral hygiene routine at home, can ensure that you achieve and maintain good oral health.

If you are obese, there’s no time like the present to make the changes necessary to improve your overall health and your oral health. Unlike many other health problems, obesity is one chronic disease that you have the ability to change on your own with the assistance of your doctor and dentist.

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