The statistics are alarming. Roughly two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese, and that number is only increasing. Along with the health problems that come with being overweight or obese, there are also a number of dental problems that tend to crop up. Let’s first discuss the problems that come alongside obesity and then connect it slowly to dental issues.
What is Obesity?
Many people witness and feel obesity, but do they truly understand it? Obesity comes from having an excess amount of fat cells in the body. While everyone has different reasons for having obesity, such as genetics or an unhealthy lifestyle, it’s essential to understand that being obese is not just a cosmetic problem. Obesity leads to many health risks, some of which are deadly.
Some of the most common diseases and conditions connected to obesity are:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Certain types of cancer
- Sleep apnea
These are only some of the problems that come with obesity. As you can see, many of these issues are very serious and can even be life-threatening. So how does this tie into dental health? Let’s first discuss the most comorbid disease of obesity, and that is diabetes.
Diabetes and obesity are two of the most common chronic diseases worldwide. They often go hand-in-hand. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 85% of people with diabetes are overweight or obese.
There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. With type 2 diabetes, the body does not use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body turn sugar into energy. When insulin isn’t used correctly, it causes sugar in the blood. It can lead to serious health problems like heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.
People with diabetes are also more likely to develop gum disease. Gum disease is an infection of the gums that can lead to tooth loss. Studies have shown that people with type 2 diabetes are twice more likely to develop gum disease than those without diabetes.
Another way to connect obesity to dental health is the amount of food intake obese individuals have.
One of the main reasons people become obese is overeating. Overeating can lead to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. It can also cause dental problems.
When people overeat, they are more likely to develop cavities. It’s because when there is more food in the mouth, there are more opportunities for bacteria to grow. The bacteria then turn into plaque, which can eat away at the enamel of the teeth and cause cavities.
Overeating can also lead to gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease. Gingivitis is caused by plaque build-up on the teeth. Left untreated, it can lead to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease.
Obesity can also lead to dry mouth. A dry mouth is a condition where there is not enough saliva in the mouth. Saliva helps wash away food and bacteria. When there is not enough saliva, it can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Bruxism is a condition where a person grinds their teeth. It can be caused by stress, anxiety, or sleep problems. Medications can also cause bruxism. Bruxism can lead to several dental issues, such as cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease.
Bruxism is also more common in people who are obese. Studies have shown that people who are obese are two times more likely to grind their teeth than people who are not obese. There are a few possible reasons for this.
One reason may be that people who are obese tend to have higher levels of stress and anxiety. It can lead to bruxism. Another reason may be that people who are obese often have trouble sleeping. The lack of sleep is one of the reasons why people get obese.
With this in mind, treating obesity isn’t just directly tackling the disease itself. Instead, it’s all about dealing with the other symptoms that come alongside it. For example, visiting the dental office at least once every six months can gradually improve the dental health problems accompanying obesity. Dealing with dental issues can significantly enhance an obese person’s life. Eventually, it can push them out of the pit of obesity and become better versions of themselves.
Obesity is a complex disease that has many different causes. However, don’t overlook the dental problems that come alongside it. You can improve your overall health and quality of life by dealing with these problems.