Various shots taken around the southside of Chattanooga

The Link Between Obesity and Gum Disease

Gum disease is often one of the first signs of other health problems occurring within your body. As the gums pull away from your teeth it allows bacteria and other germs in, which may then enter the bloodstream and cause all kinds of serious health problems. This is just one of the many reasons why you need to take care of your mouth and your oral health.

Beyond these various concerns, there is a direct link between obesity and gum disease. While gum disease will not specifically cause obesity, (you’re not going to become obese simply because you don’t brush your teeth) the two often go hand in hand. Here’s what you need to know about the link between obesity and gum disease.

The Forms of Gum Disease

Gum disease begins with gingivitis. You’ve probably heard this word used from time to time in toothpaste and mouthwash advertisements. Gingivitis is the early form of what is known as periodontal disease. Gingivitis occurs when bacteria begins to affect the tissue around your teeth. This will make the tissue loose and eventually pull away from your teeth and even recede. Over time, gingivitis will develop into a far more serious periodontal disease where your teeth will be fully exposed and you might start to lose teeth because of the lack of gum coverage.

What Causes Gum Disease

There are a number of culprits leading to gum disease. Tobacco use can lead to the disease, as can some medications. However, for those suffering from obesity, it’s often due to the high intake of sugars. Even with proper oral care, when there is simply too much sugar being consumed there will be some bits that fall through the cracks and will start to eat away at the gum line and teeth.

How Obesity Can Cause Gum Disease

Individuals who are considered obese or with excessive weight gain are at greater risk for all kinds of health issues, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and gum disease. As gum disease is caused by many of the foods consumed that leads to obesity, the over-indulgence of food will affect the teeth and gum lines as well.

Additionally, fat cells throughout the body don’t just store energy but also release hormones. When fat cells swell, they increase inflammation throughout the body, which also affects the immune system. As the immune system begins to decline, the body is far more susceptible to possible illness and disease. With the mouth being constantly exposed to germs, and, in this case, an undesirable level of sugars, the gums are more likely to start showing signs of periodontal disease.

On top of this, blood flow throughout the body decreases. The heart needs to pump harder in order to reach every part of the body, but an obese individual will have fatty tissue around the heart and arteries, which makes it difficult to pump blood throughout the body. This means there is less blood flow reaching the gums, which again leads to the development of gum disease. In fact, individuals with obesity are more susceptible to gum disease than those who are of a healthy weight.


The best treatment is to focus on dropping weight in a healthy manner. This will help improve blood flow while reducing inflammation. At the same time, it is important to focus on oral health and adjust your diet to cut out sweets and other foods more likely to attack the gums.

Gum Disease and Overall Health

Your overall health often directly stems from how well you take care of your teeth. That is why you need to eat foods that are not just good for your body, but your teeth as well, brush at least twice a day and floss daily. You also need to schedule a dental visit every six months to make sure everything is looking good, and if there is an issue have it addressed right away. If you have or develop periodontal disease, you may need to go in more often for periodontal maintenance, which is every three to four months.

At Vero Implants and Periodontics, your oral health is our top priority. So whether you’re looking for a new periodontist or have been searching for a dental professional who specializes in implants, now is the time to give us a call and set up your next appointment. Contact us today!