Described as, “the most neglected public health problem,” by the World Health Organization, obesity is a complex condition that threatens to overwhelm our country economically and steal our ability to LIVE YOUNGER individually. The number of overweight or obese Americans has increased dramatically over the past 20 years.  According to the Center for Disease Control in 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, with 36.5 percent of adults being in this category.  Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and certain cancers and are the leading causes of preventable death.  I’ve been blogging about how periodontal disease fuels the inflammatory fires on most lifestyle diseases.  Today, I want to talk about how obesity makes gum disease worse.  Bottom line: Lose weight for a healthier mouth and increased quality of life.  

It’s not an easy subject to talk about.  If you hit your thumb with a hammer, you know why your thumb hurts.  The consequences of obesity, on the other hand, develop gradually.  Our society is trying to normalize being overweight to make everyone feel good about themselves.  Unfortunately, this is not a good long-range strategy.  Obesity is not about beauty or how a person looks on the outside.  Excess fat is inflammatory and inflammation affects your ability to LIVE YOUNGER – the ability to live life to the fullest, with the fewest medications and ailments that slow you down physically and mentally.  

It is well-documented that fat, also known as adipose tissue, is not simply inert, excess weight.  We now know that it is a metabolically-active organ, like your liver or kidneys, that secretes more than 50 chemical substances.  These “bioactive” materials include pro-inflammatory “cytokines”.  The word, cytokine, comes from two Greek words: “cyto” meaning cell, and “kinos” meaning movement.  All who are interested in LIVING YOUNGER will be hearing more and more about cytokines because of their role in health.  These significant chemicals can be good or bad and they:

  • Include a broad and diverse category of small proteins
  • Are cell-signaling molecules that influence the immune response
  • Stimulate the movement of cells toward inflammation or injury
  • Include tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin-6

Gum disease, or periodontitis, is a chronic inflammatory disease with a bacterial origin that also causes more damaging cytokine release.  These harmful bacteria also trigger endotoxin production that elicit responses in the mouth and the entire body.  This “host response” is what fans the damaging inflammation system-wide.  Periodontitis and obesity share common inflammatory pathways – both are increasing the level of inflammation in the body, which decreases general health.  

START SOMEWHERE with just one of these strategies to lose excess weight, decrease your risk of lifestyle illnesses, have stronger teeth, and move in the direction of LIVING YOUNGER:

  • Drink one half of your body weight in ounces of water everyday
  • Cut your dessert in half and eat slowly
  • Make it a priority to eat at at least two cups of raw vegetables every day before you eat anything sweet
  • Substitute soda with kombucha when you are craving a fizzy drink
  • Take a 30 minute walk, no matter how slow you need to go
  • Become familiar with the your waist circumference and how it affects your future

Excess fat actually changes the chemicals in your body.  It turns off some good chemicals and turns on some bad ones.  It makes gum disease worse, and gum disease makes other lifestyle diseases worse.  LIVE YOUNGER with small changes that can make a big difference.

Tell your friends and family about my blog,, and join me Monday through Friday for many more tips!  Stay tuned for Help Yourself: The E-Book, which will be available to you soon.  Many of the struggles and ailments in life can be avoided through simple lifestyle modifications.  Lose weight for a healthier mouth.  We were designed to thrive and serve others!  Let’s LIVE YOUNGER together.  Thanks for being part of the START SOMEWHERE community!  

Lose Weight for a Healthier Mouth

Lose Weight for a Healthier Mouth