Dental Health Impacted by Obesity

Obesity and Dental Health According to a Colgate, more than 60 percent of Americans are classified as overweight. While many people believe that obesity only affects the body and an individual’s self-esteem, it actually affects every aspect of your health. Your teeth, mouth and gums are a part of your body, so it really should come as no surprise to hear that being obese affects them as well. Contrary to popular belief, in addition to affecting the cardiovascular system, obesity also affects dental health as well.

How Obesity Affects Your Teeth
According to studies conducted by the Obesity Action Coalition, people who suffer from obesity tend to have more dental problems than those who aren’t classified as overweight. Obese patients tend to have higher levels of tooth decay, more dental fillings that aren’t required and more missing teeth. Additionally, in more severe cases of obesity, they might even experience difficulty in finding sufficient dental care since some dentist might be reluctant to provide care due to the lack of ergonomic access to the patient’s mouth area. The particular types of dental conditions that obesity can cause depends upon the individual in question and his or her specific oral hygiene patterns.

Types of Dental Conditions Obesity Fosters
Obese patients who are diabetic oftentimes have to take prescription medications in order to help them manage their diabetes. Still, other obese patients might take prescription medications for other medical conditions related to their obese conditions. Many of these types of prescriptions can lead to a dry mouth, which fosters poor dental hygiene and bad breath. It’s important for the mouth to have enough saliva in order to combat bacteria, and being so obese that medication is required to manage the condition can make it so that dental health suffers.

Of course, obese patients who suffer from acid reflux conditions also tend to suffer from poor dental health because when the acid from their stomachs comes up into their mouths, it eats away at the enamel of the teeth and damages them. Stomach acid is meant to break down food, so you can just image what damage it can wreak when it comes into contact with the mouth, teeth and gums. Frequently vomiting and heartburn induced by obesity can definitely have detrimental impacts on dental health.

Obesity is oftentimes the result of a poor diet that is high in carbohydrates and sugars. Likewise, eating such a diet that’s high in these food groups can lead to the progression of tooth decay and gum disease. Sugary and acidic foods and drinks can lead to the early corrosion of the teeth and the development of dental cavities. It can also lead to the accumulation of plaque along the gum line, which can cause inflammation and the growth and spread of bacteria.

Treatment for Dental Conditions Caused by Obesity
Dental-Friendly Diet Fortunately, there are plenty of dental treatments available to address the dental conditions caused by obesity. For instance, in the case of cavities, dental fillings can be used to fill the hole in the affected teeth. In the case of periodontal disease, a scaling or root planing procedure might be needed. Regardless of the type of dental condition that you suffer from, attending to your obese state is one of the most effective measures that you can take to prevent further problems from happening.

Perhaps the first and most effective step you should take is to adjust your diet to a dental-friendly one. This means cutting down on the amount of sugary foods and drinks that you consume. Basically, striving to eat a well-balanced diet that is rich in proteins and vitamins that your body needs to be healthy overall is the best course of action. Many patients have reported that eating smaller meals more often throughout the day help them stave off hunger cravings and stick to their target diets. This doesn’t mean that you have to cut out all sugary foods and carbohydrates. However, instead of eating a lot of processed sugary foods, instead opt for fruit that contains natural sugars when you have a sugar craving.

Colgate. “Obesity and oral health” Retrieved on January 16, 2016, from

Colgate-Palmolive Company
300 Park Avenue
11th Floor
New York, NY 10022-7499

Obesity Action Coalition. “Obesity complicates oral health.” Retrieved on January 16, 2016, from

Obesity Action Coalition
4511 North Himes Avenue
Suite 250
Tampa, FL 33614