Chronic inflammation caused by obesity may trigger the development of cells that break down bone tissue, including the bone that holds teeth in place, according to new University at Buffalo research that sought to improve understanding of the connection between obesity and gum disease.
Gum recession can be a result of genetic factors, orthodontics, age, tobacco use, or vigorous tooth brushing. If not treated, it can damage the surrounding bone and in severe cases may lead to tooth loss. A gum graft is a common repair. Tufts University School of Dental Medicine’s Irina Dragan explains.
Gum disease, especially the kind that is irreversible and causes tooth loss, may be associated with mild cognitive impairment and dementia 20 years later, according to a study published in the July 29, 2020, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
For decades, researchers have suggested a link between oral health and inflammatory diseases affecting the entire body – in particular, heart attacks and strokes. Results of a randomized pilot trial of Plaque HD®, the first toothpaste that identifies plaque so that it can be removed with directed brushing, showed that it produced a statistically significant reduction in C-reactive protein, a sensitive marker for future risks of heart attacks and strokes, among those with elevations at baseline.
Sweet soft drinks and lots of sugar increase the risk of both dental cavities and inflammation of the gums – known as periodontal diseases – and if this is the case, then healthy eating habits should be prioritised even more.
Newly discovered chemical-sensing cells in the gums protect the mouth by standing guard against infections that damage soft tissue and destroy the bone that supports the teeth. With the help of bitter taste receptors that also detect byproducts from harmful bacteria, these special gum cells trigger the immune system to control the amount and type of bacteria in the mouth and could one day lead to personalized dental treatments against gum disease.