Obesity and Periodontal Disease


Aside from being detrimental to your overall health, obesity has also been connected to periodontal or gum disease. Periodontal diseases, such as periodontitis and gingivitis, are infections in your gums and bone that hold the teeth in place. In severe cases, gum disease can result in painful chewing problems and ultimately tooth loss. As with any infection, gum disease can make it difficult to keep your blood sugar under control.

Researchers from the University at Buffalo found that obesity is a significant forecaster for periodontal disease. One explanation for the link between obesity and periodontal disease is due to insulin resistance. Those with a higher level of insulin resistance were found to have a higher degree of periodontal attachment loss as well as tooth loss. In fact, those studied who fell into the highest insulin resistance category lost 1.1 more teeth compared to those in the lowest insulin resistance category.

Individuals who are obese also produce more cytokines, hormone-like proteins that lead to systemic inflammation. Increased cytokines also put your body in a state of constantly fighting infection and producing insulin resistance.


Obesity also plays a large role in the development of Type 2 diabetes. Research suggests that diabetes can cause periodontal disease, if left untreated. Many kinds of bacteria thrive on sugars, including glucose (the sugar linked to diabetes). If your diabetes is poorly controlled, high glucose levels in the fluids in your mouth can help germs grow and cause inflammation that fosters periodontal disease.

Diabetics are also prone to a change in their blood vessels. The thickening of your blood vessels is a complication of diabetes that can also increase your risk for gum disease. This is because your blood vessels deliver oxygen and nourishment to your body