Washington: Obesity is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain forms of cancer.
Now, a new study has revealed that it also may be a risk factor for gum disease.
"We know that being overweight can affect many aspects of a person`s health. Now researchers suspect a link exists between obesity and gum disease," said Charlene Krejci, DDS, MSD, lead author of the article.
"Obese individuals` bodies relentlessly produce cytokines, proteins with inflammatory properties. These cytokines may directly injure the gum tissues or reduce blood flow to the gum tissues, thus promoting the development of gum disease," she added.
Gum disease is a chronic inflammatory infection that impacts the surrounding and supporting structures of the teeth. Gum disease itself produces its own set of cytokines, which further increases the level of these inflammatory proteins in the body`s bloodstream, helping to set off a chain reaction of other inflammatory diseases throughout the body.
Research on the relationship between obesity and gum disease is still ongoing.
"Whether one condition is a risk factor for another or whether one disease directly causes another has yet to be discovered," said AGD Spokesperson Samer G. Shamoon, DDS, MAGD.
The best way to minimize the risk of developing gum disease is to remove plaque through daily brushing, flossing, rinsing, and professional cleanings.
The study was published in the January/February 2013 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD).