Weight problems and tooth loss

Although obesity is a growing public health concern, only limited data is available on the link between tooth loss and obesity. Now, a new study involving 1,720 Brazilian adults has provided new evidence that obesity is associated with the number of teeth. However, it found that the link depended largely on the participants’ age.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Federal University of Santa Catarina between September 2009 and January 2010. It involved 761 men and 959 women, mostly white (82 percent), aged 20 to 59 and from Florianópolis in southern Brazil. One-third of the participants were aged 20 to 29 (33 percent) and had ten or more teeth in both arches (76 percent). Obesity rates were similar in both male and female participants. The mean body mass index was 25.9 in men and 25.4 in women. The mean waist circumference was 79 cm in men and 88 cm in women.

The researchers found that the presence of less than ten teeth in at least one arch was positively associated with increased mean BMI and waist circumference. The prevalence of obesity was 50 percent higher in those with less than ten teeth in at least one arch compared with those with ten or more teeth in both arches. However, the researchers also found that with increasing age the relationship between tooth loss and obesity became less significant. “The main explanation for this fact lies in dietary changes with aging and tooth loss. Food-intake pattern changes according to the presence and number of natural teeth,” they said.

In order to promote oral health and early prevention of tooth loss and obesity, further longitudinal studies that involve both urban and rural communities are needed to better understand the complex relationship between the two diseases, they concluded. Currently, the researchers are preparing the second phase of this study to test their formulated hypothesis.

In addition to dental issues, obesity is associated with a number of chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer. According to the World Health Organization, more than 1.4 million adults over 20 were overweight in 2008. Overall, more than one tenth of the world’s adult population were obese, the organization stated.

Original Source: The Dental Tribune.com