Obesity & Your Oral Health

Kent Smile Studio Dental Surgery

Is There A Connection?

You can’t really get through a day in modern times without hearing or seeing something about the obesity epidemic. The statistics and figures can be shocking and quite scary to hear, but there is also a lot being done to help the country find a healthier way to live.

One of the most important aspects of helping all of us to live a healthier life is education. Understanding not only why obesity is a problem for the body, but also knowing how to avoid it, or get in better shape, is a positive approach to improvement.

Here at Kent Smile Studio with clinics in Maidstone and Chatham, we believe education is key with the prevention and treatment of many health issues, including oral health. For this reason, we wanted to give our valued patients an insight into how obesity can affect oral health. The more information you have, the better able you are to take control of all aspects of your health.

So, What Is Obesity?

The NHS states that:

“The term obese describes a person who’s very overweight, with a lot of body fat.

It’s a common problem in the UK that’s estimated to affect around 1 in every 4 adults and around 1 in every 5 children aged 10 to 11.”

It usually applies to a person who has a BMI of 30-39.9 and a BMI over 40 suggests severe obesity. The same NHS site providing this information also suggests that only 1% of obese adults are obese because of reasons other than a poor diet and lack of exercise, which is the most common cause most people gain weight.

What General Health Risks Does Obesity Cause?

Even if a person has relatively good health with obesity it can still affect self esteem, mobility and the ease of taking part in certain tasks or activities. Obesity can also cause or increase the risk of a lot of health issues including, but not limited to:

  • Joint pain
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Certain cancers
  • Heart disease
  • Strokes

There are lots of known risks to carrying excess weight, particularly around the middle. It is important to understand these risks which can often form a strong motivation for change, especially if you’ve experience any ‘warning signs’.

Diet, Obesity And Oral Health

The leading cause of obesity is consuming more calories than you burn off, commonly from foods that are fatty and sugary. A diet high in fat, sugar and foods that do not provide your body with the nutrients it needs not only causes weight gain, but it also can cause oral health issues like gum disease, bad breath and tooth decay. No matter how fantastic your oral health regime is, the effects of a bad diet can’t be erased day to day. Processed sugar from fizzy drinks, sweets and chocolate can cause tooth decay.

Starchy carbs like white bread, crackers and pastry stick between the teeth and provide food for the bacteria that live naturally in the mouth. In turn, these produce acid bi-products that then contribute to decay and gum irritation, which can then lead to gum disease. A poor diet can also mean your body does not get all the vitamins and minerals it needs which then results in your body struggling to fight off any diseases like gum disease. A lack of essential vitamins and minerals is also known to increase your risk of oral cancer.

Diabetes & Oral Health

There are two main types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Type 2 is the type commonly associated with obesity. It is a serious condition that means the sugar in the blood is too high. Too much sugar in the blood can damage the eyes, the kidneys, the feet and other parts of the body, causing lots of complications if it is not properly managed. Undiagnosed and unmanaged diabetes is particularly dangerous and can cause a person to suffer all kinds of issues, and even life threatening problems and complications. Sometimes, dentists are the first to spot signs of diabetes in the mouth and may be the reason a person is diagnosed in time; which is just one of the many reasons it is important to maintain regular checkups with your Kent Smile Studio dentist.

Obesity can lead to diabetes which can affect your oral health. If left untreated it may cause dry mouth which increases your risk of cavities. You may get gum disease, issues with taste, problems with wounds in your mouth not healing and mouth infections. Poor blood sugar control can cause oral health issues to continue or get worse, but even with effective treatment, your body may still struggle to fight gum disease because your immune system is compromised by the condition.

How To Get On Top Of Obesity For Better Oral Health And Overall Health

If you do want to improve your overall health with diet and exercise, there is a lot of information on the NHS website, and your GP can offer guidance too. There are so many ways to support a healthier lifestyle in addition to the guidance you follow from health professionals, including apps, programmes and diet plans. Finding something that works for you is really important as what works for one person may not work for another, but the chances are, something will feel right for your lifestyle eventually.

More often than not, moving more and eating less and healthier food can do wonders for a person’s health, mood and general wellness outlook. It can be hard to adapt to a healthier lifestyle at first, but once you start feeling the benefits you’ll likely feel motivated to keep going.

Getting oral health support from Kent Smile Studio is important regardless of any health conditions or lifestyle choices. Regular oral health support means any issues can be diagnosed and managed before they worsen. It is also helpful to let us know about any newly diagnosed conditions like diabetes as it means we can ensure you get the correct amount of oral health monitoring and support. Please call our friendly and helpful team on 01634683123 or 01622754662 for more information and to book an appointment at a time to suit.