A new study explores the effect of obesity on non-surgical periodontal care and evaluates potential pathways that may illustrate the connection between the two conditions.
The connection between obesity and gum disease isn’t as simple as cause and effect, said Prof. Andres Pinto, co-author of the study, published in the British Dental Journal.
Instead, the relationship centres on what both diseases have in common: inflammation.
Examining a plethora of existing studies, researchers found that data showing increased body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and percentage of body fat are associated with an increased risk of developing gum disease.
They concluded that changes in body chemistry affect metabolism, which in turn causes inflammation – something present in both maladies. This information can inform how healthcare professionals plan treatments for patients suffering from obesity and/or gum disease, Pinto said.
“Oral healthcare professionals need to be aware of the complexity of obesity to counsel their patients about the importance of an appropriate body weight and maintaining good oral hygiene,” he said.
Pinto said further research on the relationship between gum disease and obesity is needed, noting there is limited evidence to recommend changes in treatment planning.
“There is a thought, from the clinical perspective, that if you treat one of the issues, it may impact the other,” he said, “This is the big question. For example, if we treat obesity successfully, will this impact periodontal disease to the point of being of clinical relevance compared to control population? The jury is still out”.