We are finding out more and more everyday how much oral health is related to overall bodily health. When it comes to being overweight or obese, we have been learning more and more about unusual, seemingly unrelated things can contribute to obesity. One of the more recent assertions is that a person’s teeth can be linked to obesity.
What the Study says:
The link between oral health and obesity comes most directly from a study published in the Journal of Dental Research. The study had drawn a pretty fascinating conclusion: Classification tree analysis of salivary microbiological composition revealed that 98.4% of the overweight women could be identified by the presence of a single bacterial species—Selenomonas noxia—at levels greater than 1.05% of the total salivary bacteria. These results were measured against a control group made up of non-obese participants. The control group had significantly lower levels of this species of bacteria. These results would seem to certainly suggest a connection between obesity and dental health. But that doesn’t mean the relationship is causal.
The link, Obesity – Oral Health:
In all likelihood, the connection between poor oral health, or the presence of this species of bacteria and obesity is not causal. It isn’t like the Selenomonas noxia is somehow making you fatter. Instead, the presence of this bacteria is symptomatic of an obese person’s diet. It’s basically common knowledge at this point that sugary beverages and foods aren’t good for the teeth. They create an environment that enables bacteria not only to live, but thrive in your mouth. Eating sweets, therefore, will expand your waistline and promote the growth of bacteria in your mouth. By changing your diet from a highly processed food, high in sugar to one that is less processed and lower in sugar content, you’ll hit two birds with one stone. It will help you lose weight, but also assist you in restoring your gums and teeth to their ideal level of hygiene.
The bacteria species, Selenomonas noxia, is part of the genus selenomonas, a group of bacteria that tend to thrive in the gastrointestinal tract—and usually that of an animal. So why is it making a home in people’s mouths? Selenomonas love warm, anaerobic environments. Such an environment is found in the intestines, but also notably in human gingiva. The presence of high quantities of this specific bacteria could be an indicator of an overall change in your mouth’s microbial ecology.
It was concluded that it seems likely that these bacterial species could serve as biological indicators of a developing overweight condition. Future research will investigate the role oral bacteria plays in the pathology that leads to obesity.