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Obesity can cost you your pearly white teeth!

Researchers say that obesity can endanger your teeth, as it is a predictor for periodontal disease.

india Updated: Feb 23, 2006 12:19 IST

People who moan and groan about their weight now have an added reason for getting rid of their excess weight, for researchers have found that obesity can also endanger your pearly whites, as it is a significant predictor for periodontal disease.

Robert J. Genco, vice provost at the University at Buffalo, who led the research, said that the study also suggests that insulin resistance mediates the relationship between obesity and periodontal disease.

The study found that the severity of periodontal attachment loss increased proportionally with increasing insulin resistance. And in addition, the number of teeth lost increased significantly with increasing levels of insulin resistance. Individuals in the highest insulin resistance category of the study lost 1.1 more teeth compared to individuals in the lowest category.

"People who have a higher body mass index produce cytokines (hormone-like proteins), that lead to systemic inflammation and insulin resistance. We propose that chronic stimulation and secretion of proinflammatory cytokines associated with periodontal infection also occurs, contributing to insulin resistance, which may further predispose to diabetes mellitus," he said.

Kenneth A. Krebs, DMD and AAP president, said that the research has also revealed that the gum infections coupled with obesity may contribute to type 2 diabetes.

"The presence of periodontal infection combined with obesity may contribute to type 2 diabetes and its complications, such as coronary heart disease," he said.

"Although further studies are needed, people should remember that living a healthy lifestyle along with daily brushing and flossing and visiting your oral health care provider is always in fashion," he added.

The study is published in the current supplement to the Journal of Periodontology.

First Published: Feb 23, 2006 12:19 IST