Rumor has it that at any given time, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men are dieting to shed some extra pounds. Those fighting the battle of the bulge often spend time monitoring caloric consumption, exercising and eating nutritious foods and those who make the extra commitment to their oral hygiene may gain and advantage over the competition.
The connection between body weight and oral health is more than a link between what type (and how much) food a person shoves into their mouth on a daily basis. The mouth and teeth are considered to be a microcosm reflecting a body's complete state of health. Dental problems have been scientifically proven to contribute to a myriad of issues such as heart disease, strokes and diabetes. Obesity is also part of the mix, but practicing great dental health behaviors (such as brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist) can help combat that issue.
Less Oral Bacteria=Healthier Weight
Obesity has long been attributed to a sedentary lifestyle backed by an unhealthy diet, however research has indicated that an excess in oral bacteria may also contribute to the problems. Estimates suggest that there are more than 600 species of oral bacteria and obese people have a greater quantity of the critters.
The findings have come courtesy of British researchers who analyzed saliva samples from 500 women, 60 percent of them diagnosed as being clinically obese. Those samples were compared to saliva from a control group of women with a healthy weight, and The British Dental Health Foundation found that 98 percent of the overweight women had significantly higher levels of selenomonas noxia, a species of oral bacteria that has been linked to gum disease and a decline in dental health. The bacteria are thought to be a potential indicator for future weight gain.
In a similar but separate study conducted at the Forsyth Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, the saliva of 313 women with unhealthy BMIs underwent the same analysis. This team of scientists came to the identical conclusion leading to the hypothesis "...that oral bacteria may participate in the pathology that leads to obesity," (http://jdr.sagepub.com/content/88/6/519.full).
Practicing good oral hygiene can help keep the development of selenomonas noxia at bay and may potentially curb weight gain. Additional research is needed before the theory is fully vetted, but dentists will always encourage good oral hygiene as it will indeed lower levels of dental plaque and any health problems linked to the community of organisms.