Obesity raises risk of gum disease
According to new research from the University of Buffalo, chronic inflammation caused by obesity may trigger the development of cells that break down bone tissue, including the bone that holds teeth in place. The study sought to improve understanding of the connection between obesity and gum disease.
The study also found that excessive inflammation resulting from obesity raises the number of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC), a group of immune cells that increase during illness to regulate immune function. MDSCs, which originate in the bone marrow, develop into a range of different cell types, including osteoclasts, a cell that breaks down bone tissue. This research was published in October in the Journal of Dental Research
Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease affects more than 47% of adults 30 years and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Bone loss is a major symptom of gum disease and may ultimately lead to tooth loss.
Keith Kirkwood, professor of oral biology in the School of Dental Medicine at the University of Buffalo said the following about the study, “although there is a clear relationship between the degree of obesity and periodontal disease, the mechanisms that underpin the links between these conditions were not completely understood.”
“This research promotes the concept that MDSC expansion during obesity to become osteoclasts during periodontitis is tied to increased alveolar bone destruction,” says Kyuhwan Kwack, postdoctoral associate in the Department of Oral Biology. “Taken together, this data supports the view that obesity raises the risk of periodontal bone loss.”
The findings may shed more light on the mechanisms behind other chronic inflammatory, bone-related diseases that develop concurrently with obesity, such as arthritis and osteoporosis, Kirkwood says.