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Obesity linked to Gum Disease

Obesity and gum disease

Watch your Weight!

A recent study has shown a definite co-relation between obesity and gum disease.

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Puerto Rico conducted a study for a full 16 years and came to a conclusion which has far-reaching importance for public health. These findings were recently presented at the annual session of the International Association for Dental Research.

They analyzed data from 36,903 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study who were free of reported periodontal disease at the start of follow-up, and followed them for up to 16 years (1986-2002).

Height was assessed at the start of follow-up, and weight and self-reported periodontal disease data were collected at baseline and on follow-up questionnaires mailed every two years. Measures of central obesity were made by waist and hip circumference through self-assessed measurements and reported in 1987 with the aid of printed instructions and a tape measure. Self-reported periodontal disease and adiposity measures had been previously validated. They evaluated the effect of body mass index (BMI kg/m2), waist circumference (WC), and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), on first report of periodontal disease diagnosis.

They evaluated the association between different measures of obesity and risk of periodontal disease. The team observed significant associations between all measures of obesity and periodontal disease when accounting for age, smoking, race, dental profession, physical activity, fruit and vegetable intake, and diabetes status at baseline.  The associations of BMI and WC were significant even among non-diabetics and among those who had never smoked.

These results provide the first evidence following a large group of people over time with clear evidence of obesity occurring prior to periodontal disease, and support an association between obesity and risk of periodontal disease. Given the high prevalence of obesity and periodontal disease, this association may be of substantial public health importance.

Dr Madan’s Final Comments:  Mouth is a mirror of the body. Problems in the mouth will have an effect on the body, and medical problems can cause dental problems.

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