Is Obesity An Oral Health Problem Too?
With the obesity rates in America on the rise it’s becoming more and more common to hear about its devastating health effects. From increases in heart disease to stroke risk and diabetes, it’s apparent that being overweight can take a real toll on your long-term health.
One thing that doesn’t get discussed very often is the oral health effects of obesity. Despite that the risks are very real, and we’ve seen the outcomes plenty of times at our New Albany dentist office. Today we want to go over some of the dangerous elements of obesity, what they mean for your teeth, and how you can control them.
Problem Number One: Gum Disease
Overweight patients have an alarmingly high rate of gum disease – it’s actually around 75 percent higher than the general population! That means that gum disease is hands down the biggest oral health problem that obese patients can face.
Along with gum disease comes all the other health conditions that it can cause, and they aren’t pretty when combined with the health risks of obesity. Gum disease creates chronic inflammation that contributes to many of the same conditions that obesity does: heart disease, increased stroke risk, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
Pairing the risks of obesity with the risks of gum disease doesn’t bode well for your health – it’s a double whammy of risks that all combine into one serious problem!
Tooth Erosion And Cavities
The primary source of cavities is the plaque bacteria in your mouth. When you eat sugars it transforms them into acid that erodes your teeth, eventually leading to decay and cavities. The added problem presented by obesity is acid reflux, a problem that’s common for overweight individuals.
The acids in your stomach are just as dangerous to your teeth as those in your mouth, and prolonged reflux will eventually lead to tooth erosion that, if it doesn’t cause cavities, will help bacteria do its job!
Acid reflux can also contribute to gum disease because it irritates the tissues in your mouth so badly. Left untreated, acid reflux will take a serious toll on your oral health.
Obesity is often caused by a poor diet, whether it’s an excess of sugar consumption or too much unhealthy food. There are several ways that a poor diet leading to obesity can complicate your oral health, the least of which is sugar!
There are a lot of nutrients, like vitamin C, D, and calcium, that are all a part of a healthy diet. If you’re eating poorly there’s a good chance you’re deficient in at least one essential area. If you don’t get back on track you could end up seriously harming your teeth and gums. Just like the rest of your body, they need certain things to function well.
Health complications of obesity often come with prescription medication, which in turn has a whole list of side effects. Depending on your medications you might end up with a dry mouth. It might not seem like much more than an inconvenience, but a chronically dry mouth is seriously bad for your oral health.
You need saliva to wash away food particles, control the spread of bacteria, and eliminate plaque acids. Have you ever noticed the bad taste in your mouth that comes with it being dry? That’s bacteria growing without saliva to keep it in check.
You can probably guess the most obvious solution that we’re going to recommend: changing your diet, getting back in shape, and see your doctor to do it in a healthy, safe manner. Those changes aren’t instant, though, so you need to think about what to do in the meantime.
Make sure you’re staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water, brush your teeth twice a day, and floss every single night. It’s also essential to get a regular cleaning and exam to be sure your teeth stay healthy while you’re getting in shape.
When you come to our New Albany office for a checkup we’re able to catch problems before they become serious and start treatment on the ones that just might. With regular care you can offset many of the oral health problems that come with obesity, and we want to be your go-to destination to do it!
Don’t take chances with your teeth. Once they’re damaged or lost there’s no going back. Schedule an appointment at New Albany Implants today by calling (888) 469-3982 or by filling out our online appointment request form. We look forward to seeing you soon!