Monday, January 7, 2013

Gum Disease Linked To Fat Cells

(Photo courtesy
And yet another reason to start that New Year’s diet:  it seems that the body is better at fighting periodontal (gum) disease when fat cells -- which trigger inflammation -- disappear, according to a study in the Journal of Periodontology.

Researchers conducted a pilot study involving 31 obese people, all of whom had been diagnosed with periodontal disease.  Half the group underwent gastric bypass surgery, and had fat cells from the abdomen removed.  The control group had no procedure.  Both the surgery group and the control group then underwent non-surgical periodontal treatments of scaling/root planing and oral hygiene instructions for home care.

While both groups showed improvement in oral health, the surgery group -- the group that had fat cells removed -- fared better than the non-surgical group in measurements of perio disease, including a reduction of plaque levels and bleeding.

Researchers believe that excessive fat cells do indeed have a direct effect on inflammation.  Large amounts of fat cells secrete more cytokines (a type of protein), which makes insulin production less effective -- and makes it harder for the body to fight inflammation.  Losing weight, and thus reducing fat cells, improves overall health -- and that helps the body respond more favorably to periodontal treatment.

Of course, more research needs to be conducted, but this is further evidence that maintaining a healthy weight is very important -- especially your oral health!

Whether or not you are currently a Wilmette Dental patient, we invite you to follow us on Facebook by going to and clicking “Like”.

1 comment: