Dr Hilary Jones discusses UK's 'obesity epidemic' on GMB
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Being overweight or obese is associated with a higher risk of several health conditions, from type 2 diabetes to heart disease. This is becoming increasingly common in the UK with around one in four adults thought to be overweight or obese. However, new research has shown it can also have an impact on your teeth.
In a paper, published in the Public Library of Science One journal, it was revealed that higher body mass index (BMI) was associated with a “decrease” in the number of teeth from younger ages.
As part of the research a team of Japanese academics analysed data on more than 233,000 people and cross referenced their dental records with their BMI and other medical details.
It explains: “Tooth loss is associated with nutritional status and significantly affects quality of life, particularly in older individuals.
“To date, several studies reveal that a high BMI is associated with tooth loss.
“However, there is a lack of large-scale studies that examined the impact of obesity on residual teeth with respect to age and tooth positions.
“Subjects were classified into four categories based on BMI, and the number of teeth was compared between age-groups.
“The percentage of subjects with residual teeth in each position was compared between groups with obesity and non-obesity.
“Logistic regression analysis was performed to clarify whether obesity predicts having less than 24 teeth.”
The study found that higher BMI was “associated with fewer teeth over 40s”.
“Obesity was associated with the reduction of residual teeth in the maxillary; specifically, the molars were affected over the age 30,” it says.
“Smoking status further affected tooth loss at positions that were not affected by obesity alone.
“After adjusting for age, sex, smoking status, and haemoglobin A1c greater or equal to 6.5 percent, obesity remained an independent predictive factor for having less than 24 teeth.”
The research concludes: “We found that an increase in BMI was associated with a decrease in the number of residual teeth from younger ages independently of smoking status and diabetes in the large scale of Japanese database.”
It adds: “Our study led to two novel findings. First, we demonstrated that the increase in BMI is associated with a decrease in the number of residual teeth from younger age.
“Second, we showed that obesity is associated with the loss of residual molars in subjects over the age 30, and that smoking status further affected tooth loss at positions that were not affected by obesity alone.”
Body mass index (BMI) is used as a rough guide when working out if someone is considered overweight.
This can be calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in metres – you then need to divide that answer by your height.
The NHS says an “ideal” BMI for most adults is in the 18.5 to 24.9 range.
Between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight and between 30 and 39.9 is classed as obese.
Other health risks that come with being overweight or obese include:
- Some types of cancer, such as breast cancer and bowel cancer
- High cholesterol
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