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International Team Examines Body Weight and Periodontal Disease


Being overweight or obese has been associated with increased risk of periodontal disease. Hoping to better understand any causal relationship, an international team of researchers followed subjects from birth to adulthood, assessing subjects’ body composition, periodontal health and oral hygiene habits. The study, “Overweight and Obesity Impact on Periodontitis: A Brazilian Birth Cohort,” was presented during the 94th General Session & Exhibition of the International Association for Dental Research in Seoul, South Korea.

Anthropometric measures and habits were assessed during the life-course, with periodontal examinations consisting of a full-mouth probing at six sites per tooth. In examinations of 539 participants age 31 years, the 31-year risk under no intervention was reported as 33.3%, 14.3% and 14.7% for any periodontitis, moderate to severe periodontitis, and clinical attachment loss plus bleeding on probing (CAL+BOP), respectively. According to researchers, subjects who were overweight or obese had an 11% and 22% greater risk, respectively, for any periodontitis. In terms of moderate to severe periodontitis, overweight or obese individuals experienced a 12% and 27% greater risk, respectively, while overweight or obese subjects faced a 21% and 57% higher risk, respectively, of CAL+BOP. When combined with other unhealthy habits, the team noted, these risks were even greater.

Such findings led researchers to conclude that body weight significantly affects periodontal outcomes, as individuals who are overweight or obese are more likely to experience unfavorable periodontal events. More research on the subject is warranted.

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