Obesity and Periodontitis

Published:December 5th, 2011

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Periodontitis is one of those ungainly oral problems, which if left unchecked can lead to severely damaged gums and teeth, thus leaving patients with an overall unattractive look. A Study has been conducted recently, by the University Of North Carolina School Of Dentistry, Oral Health Institute, to determine whether there is a link between obesity and Periodontitis.

Periodontitis involves the progressive loss of the bones at the base of the teeth and could eventually lead to loosening and loss of teeth, if left unchecked. It is caused by microorganisms that will stick and grow on a tooth’s surface together with an adverse reaction of the immune system against these microorganisms.

The study was conducted by Romina Perri with aim of discovering whether there is a potential correlation between obesity and Periodontitis that will involve the modulation of microRNA. The study was published in the Journal of Dental Research; the official publication of the international and American associations for dental research. In the study, a number of samples were collected from 20 patients in four different groups, made up of five people in each group.

The first group was categorized as non-obese (body mass index less than 30kg/m2) and with healthy periodontums. The second group was categorized as non-obese with Periodontitis. The third group was classified as obese (body mass index greater than 30kg/m2) with healthy periodontums. The forth group was also classified as obese but with Periodontitis.

Among the samples collected from the obese individuals with healthy periodontums, two microRNA species, miR-18a and miR-30e, were up-regulated. Also the samples from the non-obese individuals, with Periodontitis, were up-regulated in the presence of obesity and periodontal disease, 9 microRNA were substantially up-regulated. The conclusions from the findings were able to establish that the data was consistent with the concept that the microRNA which are inducted by chronic nutritional stress and leads to obesity, may also excessively modulate inflammatory pathways periodontal tissues and determine the expression of diseases.

However, Francesco and Jean Suvan from the University College London Eastman Dental Institute, suggest that the data could represent a mechanistic breakthrough in our apprehension of the transitional effects of obesity and the damage to periodontal tissues but still caution that further study needs to be done in a larger and well-reputed compatriots, to replicate those findings.

The best ways to prevent Periodontitis is through daily oral hygiene measures, such as:

  • Properly brushing the teeth (at least twice daily, whereby the victim should try to direct the brushes bristles underneath the gum line, to disrupt the growth of mycotic bacteria and the formation of sub-gingival plaque.
  • Daily flossing of teeth, the use of interdental brushes and cleaning behind the last tooth and third molar in each quarter.
  • The use of antiseptic mouthwash, though they cannot cure any attachment loss due to Periodontitis.
  • The use of a soft tooth brush, which can prevent damage to sensitive gums and tooth enamel.
  • Maintaining regular dental check-ups and professional teeth cleaning, when prescribed.

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