Obesity and Periodontal Disease

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by Jonathan Richter, DDS, FAGD

Among dental pathologies, periodontitis is a very common, primarily bacterial inflammatory disease, Dr. Jonathan Richter DDS, FAGDwhich destroys teeth surrounding soft tissues and bone. It leads to pocket formation and ultimately to loss of teeth if no effective treatment is applied. Periodontitis is no longer considered only an oral health issue but also a public health problem, as it constitutes a risk factor for cardiovascular conditions, poor glycemic control in diabetics, and even adverse outcome of pregnancy.

Obesity and periodontitis are important chronic health problems. Obesity is associated with an increased prevalence of periodontitis. Whether obesity also affects the outcome of nonsurgical periodontal therapy is still unclear. Recently, however, a meta-analysis was performed evaluating the results of eight studies looking to determine the correlation between the two. While three of eight studies failed to show any influence of obesity on pocket-depth reduction after nonsurgical therapy, the remaining five studies documented a clear negative effect on the outcome of nonsurgical periodontal therapy. The importance is significant and offers yet another pervasive argument for maintaining a healthy weight.

The prevalence of obesity is increasing worldwide and is becoming one of the most important health hazards. The biological mechanism by which obesity predisposes to periodontitis is not fully understood, but it is believed that adipose tissue contains up to 60 percent more macrophage infiltration. Macrophage infiltration can send signals to modify or trigger inflammation. Some say adipose tissue can be considered its own metabolically active endocrine organ because of this.

Periodontists and patients alike should consider a weight-reduction diet as an additional treatment for periodontal health.

Source: Jonathan Richter, DDS, FAGD, of Cardiodontal (310 E. Shore Rd., Ste. 101, Great Neck). For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 516-282-0310. See ad on back cover.

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