Did you know that more than 79.6 million American adults are considered obese? That’s a little over one-third of the adult population in the United States! Obesity is defined as excessive body weight that can cause significant problems for your overall health. Having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above is considered obese.
Obesity doesn’t just affect vanity and your pant size. It has been shown to cause significant problems for your overall wellness. Obesity is tied to several systemic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and more. Like we’ve mentioned in several of our other blogs, your overall bodily health is also linked to the health of your smile. Most patients are surprised to find out about the connection between oral health and obesity, but studies have shown that obesity can worsen periodontal health and vice versa. To explain more on this subject, Drs. Elam, Vaughan, & Fleming give their readers here in Nashville, TN an in-depth look at the relationship between obesity and oral health.
Obesity: A Look At a National Health Problem
It’s no secret that obesity continues to be a serious problem in our country. In fact, researchers have found that a majority of Americans are either overweight or obese. Although obesity does not guarantee that you’ll develop many of the health conditions associated with it, the likelihood of these health complications significantly increases. Some of the problems associated with obesity includes:
Heart Disease: This health problem is common in obese individuals because fatty deposits will build up in arteries that supply blood to the heart. After a period of time, the arteries will narrow and reduce blood flow, which can cause a heart attack or stroke. Researchers have found that the hardening of the arteries occurs ten times more often in obese individuals compared to individuals who aren’t obese.
Diabetes: Obesity is related to type 2 diabetes, in particular, because it can cause insulin resistance. This hormone is key to good health because it helps to regulate blood sugar. Without insulin to regular blood sugar, obese individuals will end up with elevated blood sugar.
Osteoarthritis: Obese individuals will also deal with joint problems due to the extra pressure placed on their joints from the excess weight. Problems will typically remain unresolved because joint replacement surgery is not advised for obese individuals because the joint is more likely to loosen and complicate the issue.
Oral Health and Obesity
As you can see, obesity affects all areas of health and oral health is no exception. Obesity and oral health are connected for a few different reasons, which include:
Diet: Individuals affected by obesity typically have a poor diet with a lot of starchy carbs and additive sugar. This won’t just affect your weight and waistline. It will also have a negative impact on your oral health because bacteria will utilize sugar and starchy carbs to create an acid that wears away at tooth enamel. Your tooth enamel is essential for the health of your smile because it is the protective layer for the inner layers of the teeth where the blood vessel and nerves of the tooth are located.
Inflammation: Researchers have found that obesity is a risk factor for periodontal disease. Obese individuals are more likely to develop periodontal disease because a higher BMI is associated with higher levels of inflammatory proteins. Inflammation is a key characteristic of periodontal disease and is also associated with overall inflammation of the body.
Contact Our Office in Nashville
As you can see, there is a strong connection between overall wellness and oral health. We strongly encourage our patients here at Dentistry of Nashville to consider their oral health as well as their overall wellness. If you have any concerns about the health of your teeth or gums, we offer a variety of services to help you achieve a beautiful, healthy smile. Contact our office today to find out how we can best help your oral health.