Being overweight can lead to a number of health problems, but you may not have considered what it can do to your teeth. It’s hard to imagine your weight causing things like cavities, gum disease, or causing tooth loss but that’s exactly what it’s capable of doing!
At Edgewood Dental Care we like helping all of our patients stay healthy, and in some cases that involves going beyond just the mouth. Today we want to talk about what your diet, weight, and fitness level can do to your health.
How It Happens
Here’s an interesting statistic: the American population of obese people between the ages of 18 and 34 has approximately 76 percent more occurrence of gum disease than those at a healthy weight. That’s a huge difference! But why are those numbers so high? A lot of it has to do with the health risks posed by obesity.
Type 2 diabetes, for example, greatly increases your chances of developing gum disease. And interestingly enough, having gum disease increases the likelihood that you’ll develop diabetes as well! Even taking incredibly good care of your teeth can leave you in trouble due to the increased risks associated with your weight.
There are a lot of two-way relationships that exist between bodyweight and chronic health conditions, and understanding which came first can be difficult. But one thing is definitely for sure: being overweight DOES cause a lot of oral health problems that are a result of that weight gain. In the end it doesn’t matter what came first – we just want to get the problem under control!
What Can Happen
There are a lot of oral health conditions that are affected by obesity. It’s not always immediately obvious if you aren’t sure what to look for, but here’s a list of some of the most common ones. Some may come as a surprise!
- Gum disease, as we mentioned above is a common oral health side effect of excess weight. Don’t let it go untreated – gum disease causes inflammation throughout the body that can aggravate heart disease risks and cause other inflammation-related conditions.
- Acid reflux is another common problem for obese patients, and it can be a problem for teeth as well! The stomach acids that make it to your mouth are just as hard on your teeth as the acids produced by plaque bacteria. If you go a long time without acid reflux treatment you can end up with serious tooth wear and a high risk of cavities. Constant acid exposure can also lead to gum recession, root exposure, sensitive teeth, and gum disease.
- Poor dietary habits are a serious risk to your mouth. Whether you’re eating too much sugar or not getting enough essential nutrients you’re putting yourself at risk for a whole bunch of common oral health problems. Sugar consumption leads to more plaque acid production, and thus more cavities, and a lack of necessary fiber and nutrients can make it harder for your mouth to fight back against bacteria and infection.
- Taking medications to manage weight-related health conditions is common, and many of those medications can cause a dry mouth. Proper saliva flow is fundamental in maintaining a healthy mouth. Without it you aren’t washing away bacteria or the acids they produce! The result is more decay and a higher risk of gum disease.
How To Prevent Dental Disaster
Saving your smile ultimately means making several lifestyle changes, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to reduce oral health risks right now. Make sure you’re eating well, brushing your teeth twice a day, and flossing every night.
It’s also essential to see the dentist twice a year, and statistics show that many overweight people don’t do that. Good dental care, like the kind provided at our Edgewood office, will identify problems early on, remove excess plaque from hard-to-reach areas, and help you make good health goals for the future. Don’t let something that would have been preventable catch you when a cleaning and exam could have eliminated the risk!
Make Good Dental Care Choices, Starting Now
Proper dental care doesn’t need to be complicated. It’s just one more part of maintaining a healthy body, and it’s the part we can help you with. We’re ready to help you whenever you call Edgewood Dental Care to schedule that first appointment!
You can reach us at 859-474-7830 or you can request an appointment online. We look forward to seeing you soon!