Health Advice



The obesity, gum disease, tooth loss connection

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

In the spiritual "Dry Bones," sung by the Delta Rhythm Boys, the neck, shoulder, back, hip, thigh, knee, leg, ankle, heel and foot bones are all connected. But the ol' jawbone is ignored completely. Now, a lab study published in the Journal of Dental Research suggests a new line for that song: "Jawbone connected to the waistline!"

The researchers discovered that chronic inflammation triggered by excess body fat causes cells in your body (called osteoclasts) to flourish. They then break down bone tissue, including bone that holds your teeth in place! A high-fat diet also caused epigenetic changes in the study's lab mice; expression of 27 genes related to the formation of osteoclasts was increased.

Periodontal (gum) disease affects over 47% of U.S. adults age 30 or older. Obesity and overweight affects around 70% of Americans. So, we can expect the prevalence of gum disease (that also hastens tooth loss) and obesity-related jawbone erosion to increase over time. Unless ... you do everything you can to maintain a healthy weight.

Bottom line: Obesity and bodywide inflammation are your own internal climate change challenge. They alter body levels of liquids, chemicals and oxygen. You end up with an increased risk of everything from gum disease and tooth loss to Type 2 diabetes (strongly associated with gum disease). To counter that, adopt a plant-based diet; ditch red meat and ultraprocessed foods; get physically active; and practice stress management. That'll put some bite in your fight for good health -- and a great smile on your face.

Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of "What to Eat When" and its companion cookbook.



(c)2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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