A Fit Body Gives Oral Health A Boost, Too!

Posted on Jan 22, 2013 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

If your New Year’s Resolution to get in shape has you dragging about now, don’t give up! Your oral health could benefit, too! A study has shown that over 63% of American adults are either overweight or obese.

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine found that the risk of gum disease lowers when fat cells decrease. The study measured obese adults, some of whom were having bariatric surgery. All were given periodontal treatment and oral hygiene home care instructions. While both groups showed improvement, the surgery group showed the most favorable results.

Apparently, an overabundance of fat cells secrete more cytokines. This makes insulin more resistant to proper function, allowing more sugar in the blood. By reducing fat cells, insulin becomes less resistant and actually aids the body’s response to periodontal treatment.

Along with cytokines, the leptin hormone has been linked to inflammation. Because leptin helps to regulate metabolism, its production was reduced after bariatric surgery. This tends to boost the effectiveness of periodontal treatment.

Inflammation from gum disease can erode bone and cause tooth loss. It also enables harmful oral bacteria to enter the blood stream. This bacteria has been linked to preterm birth, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and more.

The study, too, is another example of how intricately oral health and overall health are connected. Keeping your gums and teeth in good condition prevent harmful bacteria from causing inflammation in the body. By the same token, a healthy body seems to create a better foundation for the gums. So, stick to your resolve to get in shape and remember to smile on that treadmill! It’s worth it!

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