January 20, 2017

Weight Loss Benefits of Good Oral Health

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To do list for a long and healthy life:

What? Teeth? What do they have to do with anything? Well it turns out that good oral care has many wellness benefits, including weight loss.

Many of us want to lose weight because we are concerned with the medical risk or health complications of being overweight. Obesity threats include heart disease, diabetes, joint pain and sleep apnea, among others.

The Journal of Periodontology reviewed a study that showed your body can fight gum disease more effectively when fat cells, which trigger inflammation, disappear.

Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine created a pilot study with 31 obese people, each with gum disease.  The group was divided into two groups:

  • Those agreeing to gastric bypass surgery
  • Those who do not agree to have gastric bypass surgery

Everybody, regardless of which group they were in, received equal gum disease treatment and home care instructions.  Both groups showed improvements in the their gum disease.  However, one group had more significant improvements than the other.  Which group was that?

The group that had gastric bypass surgery reversed their gum disease more dramatically than the group that did not.

There are two theories that explain the improvement in gum disease:

  • Losing weight improves the diabetic status of patient, which increases the effectiveness of periodontal treatment.
  • The presence of the appetite-regulating hormone leptin, which is linked to inflammation. Leptin production is reduced after bariatric surgery and may be one explanation for the better outcomes.

In any case, the study adds improved dental health to the list of benefits of significant weight loss.

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