Losing Fat Can Improve Periodontal Disease Treatment



A pilot study at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine indicates that humans can fight periodontal disease better if they have fewer fat cells. It involved 31 obese people with periodontal disease. Half of the subjects with an average body mass index (BMI) of 39 underwent gastric bypass surgery and removal of fat cells from the abdomen; this group achieved better results in treating the gum disease than did the control group of obese people with a BMI of 35. Treatment consisted of scaling/root planing and oral hygiene home care instructions. Further, the majority of subjects who underwent the surgical procedure experienced a lowering of glucose levels. Both groups showed improvement of gum disease after dental treatment, but the surgery group did better in terms of periodontal attachment, bleeding, probing depths, and plaque levels. One theory regarding why these results were achieved is that excessive fat cells secrete more cytokines, which make insulin less functional and lead to hyperglycemia. Losing weight improves the diabetic status and helps in the response to periodontal therapy. A second theory pertains to leptin hormone, which regulates appetite. Leptin is involved in regulating metabolism and has been associated with inflammation by increasing cytokines and C-reactive protein. Leptin production was decreased after the surgical procedure and may help explain the better outcome for periodontal treatment.

(Source: ScienceDaily, November 9, 2011)