What your gum health and weight have in common

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again — there’s a common thread tying all your health issues together.

It may seem like your arthritic knees and rosacea have nothing to do with one another. That your IBS and seasonal allergies are completely unrelated. That your gum disease and inability to get your BMI below obesity range are two separate problems.

But the fact is, almost all chronic health conditions are caused by the same thing — inflammation.

Take gum disease and obesity, for example. If you’re obese, you’re three times more likely to have gum disease. Three times! Why?

Well, it would be easy to assume that one condition causes the other. But the truth is, they’re two weeds growing from the same inflammatory root…

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How inflammation drives gum disease and obesity

A new research review published in the British Dental Journal confirms yet again that obesity and gum disease are closely connected… and inflammation is the reason why.

The review looked at published studies on the connection between obesity and gum disease. And here’s what researchers concluded…

A high body mass index, waist circumference, and body fat percentage are all tied to a bigger risk of gum disease (also known as periodontitis).

Researchers determined that changes in body chemistry affect metabolism, which leads to obesity. These changes also trigger body-wide inflammation, which causes periodontitis.

Now, there’s something I have to mention here to give you a clearer picture of the problem… inflammation causes obesity, but obesity also causes inflammation.

Eating too many calories and inflammatory foods (like sugar and refined carbs) changes your body chemistry, which impacts your metabolism and sets you up for obesity. Once your body is inflamed, you become more resistant to the hunger-suppressing hormone leptin, so it takes you longer to feel full.

So, inflammation and obesity quickly create a vicious cycle, with periodontitis popping into the equation too.

How to tackle the inflammation that causes obesity and gum disease

Here’s the big question everyone wonders when two diseases are statistically connected…

Will solving one solve the other?

If you lose weight, for example, will your periodontal disease improve? That’s a question no one can answer with certainty. But if you want to target either (or both) issues, why not focus on fighting inflammation?

You can do that by eating an anti-inflammatory diet. The Mediterranean diet is a great example of an anti-inflammatory diet. It includes high amounts of anti-inflammatory foods like fish, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, and low amounts of inflammation-causing foods like red and processed meat, dairy products and hydrogenated oils.

You can also fight inflammation through regular exercise. In fact, a 2017 study found that even a short exercise session (20 minutes or so) has an anti-inflammatory effect on your body.

What else can you do?

Well, if you really want to get serious about fighting inflammation, you can add an aged garlic supplement to your daily routine. A 2017 study found that people with obesity who took 3.6 grams of aged garlic extract twice per day saw their markers for chronic inflammation go down in just six weeks.


  1. New study explores the link between obesity and gum disease — EurekAlert!
  2. Review of obesity and periodontitis: an epidemiological viewBritish Dental Journal
  3. Association between obesity and periodontal disease. A systematic review of epidemiological studies and controlled clinical trialsMedicina Oral Patologia Oral y Cirugia Bucal
  4. What Is Inflammation? — LiveScience
  5. Exercise… it Does a Body Good: 20 Minutes Can Act as Anti-Inflammatory — UC San Diego Health
  6. Obesity and Periodontal Disease — Obesity in Action
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.