Review suggests link between perio disease, obesity

By Tony Edwards, DrBicuspid.com contributing writer

December 12, 2019 -- Does body weight affect the likelihood that a patient may have periodontal disease? Evidence suggests it does, according to a recent review published in the British Dental Journal.

However, knowing the common link between these diseases can help clinicians plan treatment for patients with obesity, periodontitis, or both, according to the review authors from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and El Bosque University in Bogotá, Colombia. That common link is inflammation, which results from the changes in body chemistry and affects a patient's metabolism.

"Periodontal disease occurs in patients more susceptible to inflammation -- who are also more susceptible to obesity," stated study co-author Andres Pinto, DMD, MPH, in a press release. Dr. Pinto is a professor of oral and maxillofacial medicine and diagnostic sciences at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine.

The researchers examined numerous published studies. They found that patients with an increased percentage of body fat, body mass index, serum lipid levels, and waist circumference were at an increased risk for developing periodontitis (BDJ, 2019, Vol. 227, pp. 235-239).

They noted that the association between obesity, periodontal disease, and inflammation involves adipose tissue-derived cytokines, such as tumor-necrosis factor-α and interleukin-6. Previous researchers have noted that adipose tissue-derived cytokines play a significant role in the pathogenesis of inflammation and metabolic disorders such as obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus (Diabetology and Metabolic Syndrome, May 15, 2018).

However, Dr. Pinto and colleagues reported that most studies analyzed data from population subsets at only one point in time. They stated that further, long-term research on the relationship between gum disease and obesity is needed.

The authors noted that the information from their review could aid dentists in planning treatments for their patients.

"Oral healthcare professionals need to be aware of the complexity of obesity to counsel their patients about the importance of an appropriate body weight and maintaining good oral hygiene," Dr. Pinto stated.


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