A new study says that obesity is a major risk factor for gum disease, perhaps as serious as smoking. However, other research suggests that there is no link.

It’s clear that we don’t fully understand all the risk factors in obesity and it’s best to ensure you work with a dentist who gives personalized care.

New Study Links Obesity to Gum Disease

A new study published in this month’s Journal of Dental Research suggests that obesity may be as serious a risk factor for gum disease as smoking. The study looked at 260 adults who underwent nonsurgical periodontal therapy. They divided subjects by age, smoking status, and body mass index (BMI), using both a continuous scale and a division between normal, overweight, and obese individuals.

They found that both obesity and BMI as a continuous variable were associated with poor outcomes from periodontal treatment. They also found that the individuals who were obese were as likely as smokers to have a poor outcome.

Recent Data Suggests No Link

These findings are in contrast to a study published in early 2013 that found there was no link between obesity and gum disease. The 2013 study was based on a randomly selected survey of more than 2700 Canadians aged 20-79. These individuals were examined to determine if they had periodontal disease. Findings were adjusted for age, then correlated with different variables, including BMI and waist circumference. 55% of their sample was overweight or obese.

They found there was no increased risk associated with obesity, just with increased age, and being either a current or former smoker.

How to Bring These Two Studies Together

With contradictory evidence like this, it’s sometimes hard to know what the science is saying. However, if we look at the design of the studies, we can see that they may not be so contradictory as initially thought. The first study looked at individuals who had been diagnosed with gum disease, and were undergoing treatment. The second study looked at a random selection of the population that turned out to have a generally good oral health. What these studies may be telling us is that obesity may impact your body’s ability to recover from gum disease. Or they may be telling us that obesity and gum disease may be linked by some genetic risk.

If you are suffering from gum disease, you need to work with a dentist who can tailor your treatment to your personal circumstances and adjust it according to your results. At Ravon Knopf, we can deal with the most advanced problems in periodontal care and can give you the best care for your gum disease.

To learn how we can help you, please contact Ravon Knopf in Beverly Hills today for an appointment.