(NaturalNews) We knew we could point the finger at obesity when it comes to the risk for heart disease and diabetes, but it turns out obesity can affect the health of your teeth and gums, too. Obesity is now strongly associated with an increased risk of gum disease, says a study presented on April 4, 2009, during the 87th General Session of the International Association for Dental Research in Miami.
Research followed the data of nearly 37,000 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study between the years of 1986 and 2002. All of the men were free of periodontal disease at the beginning of the study. Information taken into account for the study included body mass index (BMI), height and weight, as well as waist and hip measurements.
Participants who were obese - which is defined as having a body mass index of 30 or more - were 29 percent more likely to be diagnosed with periodontal gum disease during the study compared to those of normal body weight. The risk remained quite high even for those who did not have diabetes and did not smoke. In those who were overweight but not obese, the risk of gum disease was negligible according to study author Monik Jimenez, who is a doctoral candidate at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Waist circumference was also taken into account during this study. Researchers found that men who had a waist measurement of more than 40 inches increased their risk of developing gum disease by 19 percent.
Both the rate of obesity and gum disease have been on a sharp incline during recent years, and this is not the first time medical professionals have linked obesity with periodontal disease. There was also an earlier study which linked the two together in younger people. In addition, gum disease has also been connected with other health problems such as heart disease and cancer.
"It's been known that diabetics' gum disease is worse," says David Cochran, the president of the American Academy of Periodontology and chairman of the Department of Periodontics at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. He adds, "Periodontal inflammation and inflammation throughout the body are very much associated with one another."
The inflammation common in those who are obese is to blame for many of the health problems associated with obesity. Climbing obesity rates are more alarming than ever considering new research is constantly linking the condition to more and more diseases.
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2009/10/welco...