Inflammation Links Obesity and Gum Disease

Bleeding gums can be a warning sign of gum disease. And, if your patient is overweight, it can indicate other serious health issues too, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure

After reviewing previous research on gum disease and obesity, Case Western Reserve University School of Dentistry found an association between both health problems – chronic inflammation, described in a recent article in the Journal of General Dentistry, “Obesity And Periodontitis: A Link.

As you know, gingivitis ignites an inflammatory response as the body begins to fight off bacteria present in dental plaque. If not treated, gingivitis progresses to periodontitis and the inflammation eventually erodes the jawbone and loosens teeth. In severe cases, patients lose their teeth. The bacteria can also cause ulcers in the pocket surrounding the involved teeth and eventually enter the blood and settle in other parts of the body.

But now researchers warn that being overweight can compound the problem. Belly fat contains about 50 bioactive substances, which can set off inflammatory responses that reduce the body’s ability to suppress appetite or use insulin to regulate glucose levels-both of which are linked to diabetes.

Fat tissue can also increase production of the C-reactive protein (CRP) involved in the inflammation process and linked to cardiovascular disease.