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Medicine Periodontics Restorative Dentistry

What is the link between periodontal disease and obesity?


bigstock-The-word-Ouch-on-a-scale-digit-41809357This summary is based on the review article published in the International Journal of Stomatology and Occlusion Medicine: Periodontal disease and obesity (March 2013)

P. Aravind Kumar, P. Mohan Kumar, A. Krishna Rao, G. Krishna Dileep


Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat accumulates to the extent of potentially having an adverse effect on health leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems. As obesity is a multifaceted condition, it has been implicated as a significant risk factor for numerous diseases, such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Recently, it has been found that obesity also appears to participate in the multifactorial etiology of periodontitis through increased production of reactive oxygen species and an increase in inflammatory cytokines. The association between impaired lipid metabolism and periodontitis still needs to be established.

Purpose of the Review

This review explains the mechanisms that link hyperlipidemia to periodontitis, which is probably related to the exacerbated pro-inflammatory changes in periodontal tissues.

Key Messages

  • Reports on the relationship between obesity and periodontal disease are increasing and the relationship in young adults is likely to be major.
  • At this point, it is quite difficult to establish a causal relationship between obesity and periodontal disease; however, more studies are required to clarify whether obesity is one of the risk factors for periodontal disease or simply a risk indicator.
  • If such link is established, the prevention of periodontal disease could be included in intervention campaigns designed to prevent obesity-related diseases. Conversely, the prevention and management of obesity may be an adjunctive approach to improving periodontal health.


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