The Body Fights Gum Disease Better When You Are Not Fat

An interesting study was conducted by researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine.

The study included 31 obese people with gum disease. Half of those in the group with an average BMI of 39 had gastric bypass surgery and had had fat cells from the abdomen removed. This half did better than a control group of people with an average BMI of 35 who did not have gastric bypass surgery or had fat removed.

It was stated that

“All study participants underwent nonsurgical periodontal treatments of scaling/root planing and oral hygiene instructions for home care. While both groups showed improvement, the surgery group did even better on the measures for periodontal attachment, bleeding, probing depths and plaque levels.”

Periodontal disease is a potential risk of keeping wisdom teeth and is discussed in more detail over at Periodontal disease has been found to be associated with numerous systemic diseases.

The researchers in the study came up with 2 different hypotheses about why the surgery group did better than the control group.

The first theory was that fat cells secrete more cytokines such as TNF and IL-6 which can cause insulin to be more resistant to properly function. Hence losing weight causes insulin to be less resistant and improve diabetic status which can aid in helping with periodontal treatment.

The second theory was that leptin production was reduced after bariatric surgery. A leptin reduction could have caused less inflammation by decreasing the amount of cytokines and C-reactive protein present.

Additional studies are needed to look at the role of fat cells in conjunction with periodontal disease.

Even so this study helps to show that if you are planning to retain any wisdom teeth you should strongly consider practicing good healthy habits and not become obese.


Susan Griffith. Lose the fat and improve the gums, CWRU dental researchers find. Wed. November 9, 2011.

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