Being overweight, or obese, is a common ailment affecting both children and adults alike, in the US (about 34.9 percent of the adult population is obese). The main cause of this condition is the easy access to fatty and high caloric foods, as well as an urban lifestyle which ensures that the body gets little exercise. This condition has long been linked to chronic ailments like coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes etc. but its effects on oral health were not discovered until recently. Since the initial discovery, a number of studies have been conducted on human subjects which have shown a consistent correlation between excess weight and dental health diseases such as periodontitis.
Factors that connect obesity and oral health :
- Oral pH: The mouth’s environment is crucial in maintaining oral health, and is largely determined by its pH – that can also affect the rest of the digestive tract and virtually the entire body. Reduced pH levels in the mouth are a direct indication of below average fat burning capabilities on part of your body which manifests itself as excess body fat that makes you obese. The lowered pH levels (below 7.0 i.e. acidic) in your mouth are a chief contributor towards tooth decay and cavity production among people of all ages. In any case, a low pH of the mouth indicates that you’re diet comprises of excessive carbohydrates – which means you are already obese or are getting there – since carbohydrate cravings are often a symptom of being overweight.
- Structural changes in mouth with weight gain: As you become overweight, your entire body’s structure readjusts itself to the change. This includes your mouth i.e. the gums and teeth. An increase in body weight can cause the movement of your teeth which can lead them to fracture prematurely. This is because the teeth may be held by the bones of your mouth, but they are themselves connected to the body, and as your body grows fat, your mouth swells too, inadvertently damaging your teeth. Moreover, as bone cells (including fat cells) become altered, your teeth may actually reposition themselves, leading to food bits getting stuck in your mouth – an invitation to cavity formation and periodontal disease. If these afflictions are allowed to go untreated, a decrement in the mouth’s pH level occurs, that can cause severe damage to your oral health by adversely affecting your gums.
Consequences for those wearing oral fixtures :
An indirect impact of becoming overweight ( having a excess weight) and the resultant change in the mouth’s structure is denture sores. These may occur if an individual who wears removable dentures experiences sudden weight gain that leads to swelling in the gums as well as excessive pressure on the mouth.
As indicated by the aspects of obesity that lead to oral health problems, it is pretty clear that you can reduce its chances by simply following a healthy lifestyle and taking due precautions. Your oral pH can easily be checked by a dentist or at home using a strip of standard pH paper. If you find your pH more than a little acidic (i.e. below 6.5), it is time to cut down on the dainties and eat some greens and lean meat. Make sure that you check with your oral health expert if you suddenly become overweight, particularly if you are already undergoing dental health treatment.
This blog post is an educational resource only and does not replace a medical consultation with a doctor .
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