Losing weight can improve a lot of things about your health: your cholesterol, you blood pressure, even your self confidence. But how about your smile? New research from the Journal of Periodontology has found that when people lose fat, they improve the health of their gums, too.
Researchers looked at 31 obese people with gum disease. Half of the subject had gastric bypass surgery and had fat cells from their stomaches removed, while the other half did not. In those who had the weight-loss surgery, their gum health (periodontal attachment, bleeding, probing depths and plaque levels) improved much more than those who did not.
Although the research is preliminary, researchers have two theories as to why those who lost weight had better dental health, and they both have to do with inflammation. First is that the weight loss helped reduce blood sugar levels and therefore inflammation in the body. Second, researchers saw that the hunger-regulating hormone leptin, which has also been linked to inflammatin, was reduced after the subjects had surgery. Inflammation from gum disease can erode bone and cause tooth loss and cause breaks in the gums where harmful oral bacteria can enter the blood stream, so anything to keep inflammation down is a good thing, according to ScienceDaily.
The researchers plan to study this phenomenon more, but in the mean time, it's just another reason to maintain a healthy weight!
Jennipher Walters is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomedGirls.com and FitBottomedMamas.com. A certified personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and regularly writes about all things fitness and wellness for various online publications.