Tooth loss and the link to obesity

By Helena Klass

According to Jean-Philippe Chaput from the Canadian Obesity Network of Students and New Professionals (CON-SNP), and Professor Angelo Tremblay from the Universite Laval's faculty of medicine, those who have 21 or fewer teeth have an increased risk of becoming obese and therefore suffering from any risks associated with being overweight.

Chaput and Tremblay's research indicated that those with 21 or fewer teeth struggled to chew certain healthy foods such as vegetables, fruit and nuts, therefore making them resort to eating unhealthier but more chewable foods. The two researchers' findings were reported in the Journal of the Canadian Dental Association in 2007.

Chaput and Tremblay are by no means the only ones to be concerned with our modern-day, often unhealthy diet, but they are the first to identify a link between oral health and over-eating. Inevitably, many men and women lose teeth due to periodontal diseases which can destroy the mouth's structure, but hopefully these new findings will encourage dentists and nutritionists to work together.

Chaput and Tremblay are encouraging those in the medical field to work together, suggesting that when an adult has a tooth extracted, they are referred to a dietician or nutritionist to discuss ways in which to develop a balanced diet. Whilst they admit that inevitably adults will lose teeth over time, they hope that those with fewer teeth or dentures can at least enjoy a healthy diet to prevent further health complications. They also hope that this measure would help reduce the number of adults who suffer from joint pain as a result of being obese.

Another study reported in the 2009 Journal of Dental Research suggested another link between tooth loss and obesity, this time between the higher levels of bacteria found in those with poor oral health. Both these two studies show just how important oral health is in maintaining overall good health.

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