Can Being Overweight Affect Your Oral Health?

05/01/2012

DenturesThe answer is yes! 

We all may experience weight fluctuations throughout our lifetime. Weight goes up. Weight goes down. As one gains weight, the gums and bone in the mouth change too. This can cause teeth to move. The bite can change. Teeth can prematurely fracture. Teeth are held firmly in bone, but the mouth is connected to the rest of the body. As the body goes, so does the mouth. The mouth swells as the body swells.

As the bone cells change (which also contains fat cells), the teeth can move to a new position. Spaces may begin to form between your teeth due to tooth movement. Food may begin getting stuck between your teeth. This may lead to periodontal disease and cavities. The pH in the mouth can then drop to a level below 5.5 and cause more mouth destruction. This damage can be permanent.

If the open spaces between your teeth are not treated, you may begin to need root canals, gum surgery, crowns or even tooth extraction! So if you notice these changes, visit with your dentist soon to have the problems addressed.

If you are wearing removable dentures, a weight gain can lead to swollen gums and a feeling of excessive pressure. This can also cause denture sores on your gums. These denture sores can be treated easily with your dentist by making room for the swollen gums in the denture. Don’t try to adjust your dentures by yourself! 

Sudden weight loss can lead to loose fitting dentures and they can fall out of your mouth. The mouth shrinks as the body shrinks. You can try to improve the fit with denture adhesive or dental implants.

Dental changes due to weight fluctuations:

  • Fillings may develop gaps
  • Onlays may develop gaps
  • Ceramic veneers may develop gaps
  • Crowns may develop gaps
  • Fixed bridges may develop gaps
  • Dental implants may develop gaps
  • Removable dentures may feel tighter or looser
  • Bite guards may no longer fit
  • Food getting stuck between teeth
  • Gums (gingival) hurting when eating
  • Increased stains on teeth
  • Gums may begin to bleed when brushing
  • Gums may feel swollen

If you begin to lose weight, your mouth may also begin to change. Your lips may appear less full. Your teeth, gums and bones can shift. It is important that you have your mouth evaluated with a dentist. The changes can be professionally monitored and treated as needed.


More on Oral Care:

5 Explanations of Bleeding Gums

5 Oral Care Need-to-Knows for Aging

Dental Implant Problems Quiz


Photo Source: Thinkstock/Stockbyte


Dr. Joe Kravitz is a dental expert who specializes in fixing people’s mouths with fillings, inlays, crowns, veneers, dentures and implants. He is on a quest to get people to think about oral health.

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