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Obesity tied to increased risk for periodontal disease


In a report published in the August 14 edition of the Journal of Dental Research, investigators from the Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children's Hospital studied the connection between weight gain and the development of gingival diseases like periodontitis. The most significant link found suggested that men who gain weight at a significantly heightened speed, including the expansion of waist circumference and arm fat accumulation, experienced faster rates of periodontal illness.

Andrea Gorman, Ph.D., spoke with industry news source Dr. Bicuspid.com about the findings, and she suggested in the interview that much of the data was gleaned by using information from the Veterans Affairs Dental Longitudinal Study, an ongoing research project that uses former soldier's dental records to watch for long-term trends that go back to the mid-60s. In this particular initiative, Dr. Gorman and her team used records from 893 white males going back to 1968, and questionnaires were administered to participants to learn about weight fluctuations, lifestyle and potentially harmful habits.

"Oral health has a direct impact on nutrition status, and as the U.S. has a growing malnutrition problem — which includes both under- and overnutrition — oral health will need to be factored into the patient-centered health model," Gorman told the source.

The results matched the theory that excess body weight, especially in the arm and chest regions, was connected with poor oral health.

"Now we can see that rates of gain in weight and adiposity, both visceral and subcutaneous, can impact progression of disease," Gorman said. "Faster rates of weight gain and fat gain have worse outcomes."

Americans should watch their weight as well as their mouths when it comes to staying healthy. Regular visits to both the doctor and an affordable dental care provider are an important part of anyone's personal health regimen.