ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Gene Plays Key Role in Clubfoot
Fractures in Older Adults Up Death Risk
Tequila Plant May Help Fight Bone Loss
CANCER
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Minorities Distrust Medical System More
CAREGIVING
Organ Donation Policies Vary Among Children's Hospitals
Coordination Has Led to Quicker Heart Treatment
UV Lights, Fans May Curb TB Spread in Hospitals
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
DIABETES
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Coffee Drinking Lowers Women's Stroke Risk
More Educated Choose Healthier Foods, But Pay More
Eating in America Still Unhealthy
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Ozone-Depleting Inhalers Being Phased Out
Hairspray Exposure Ups Risk for Birth Defect in Sons
EYE CARE, VISION
FDA Goes After Unapproved Eye Washes, Skin Ointments
Brain Adapts to Age-Related Eye Disease
Green Tea May Ward Off Eye Disease
FITNESS
Fall Cleanup Is a Prime Time for Accidents
Higher Fitness Levels Tied to Lower Heart, Death Risks
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Winter's Bitter Cold Poses Health Dangers
Simple Holistic Approach to Fight the Common Cold
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Fewer Heart Attacks After England Goes Smoke-Free
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Quick Orthopedic Repair Can Save Young Shoulders
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
MEN'S HEALTH
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
MENTAL HEALTH
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
The Unmedicated Mind
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
SENIORS
Boost In Elderly Population Will Be Felt Worldwide
Any Old Cane Won't Do
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
Natural Relief for Painful Menstrual Cramps
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Add your Article

Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk

SATURDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- Obese adults are at higher risk of gum disease than are normal-weight people, a new study finds.

For many years, researchers have been trying to determine the link between gum disease and cardiovascular risk, said study author Monik Jimenez, a doctoral candidate at the Harvard School of Public Health.

To explore the possible connection between excess weight and periodontal problems, Jimenez and her colleagues analyzed data from nearly 37,000 men who participated in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. They were free of periodontal disease at the beginning of the study and were followed for up to 16 years, from 1986 to 2002.

Researchers gathered information on the men's height, weight and self-reported gum disease diagnoses, as well as their waist and hip measurements.

"Obesity was associated with a 29 percent increased risk of periodontal disease over the course of the study" compared to those of normal weight, Jimenez said. She used the standard definition of obesity as a body-mass index of 30 or higher.

"There was a negligibly small risk" of gum disease among those who were overweight but not obese, she said.

Waist circumference was linked to a higher risk of gum disease, too. Men with a waist of 40 inches or more -- considered a risk for heart disease -- had a 19 percent higher risk of getting gum disease than those with a waist under 40 inches.

In a second study, Jimenez and her colleagues at the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan found that an elevated waist-hip ratio (WHR) was linked to a greater risk of moderate gum disease in men and women age 70 and above.

Those with an elevated waist-to-hip ratio were nearly six more likely to have gum disease as those who did not have an elevated waist-to-hip ratio. In women, the waist-to-hip ratio is considered elevated if it is .88 or above; in men, if it is .95 or higher. For instance, a woman with a 36-inch waist and 40-inch hips has a WHR of .90.

Jimenez is scheduled to present the findings Saturday at the International Association for Dental Research general session in Miami Beach, Fla.

The findings build on previous research, said David Cochran, president of the American Academy of Periodontology and chairman of the Department of Periodontics at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio.

"It's been known that diabetics' gum disease is worse," he said. There have been other associations uncovered, such as heart disease and gum disease and gum disease and cancer risk in men. In a previous study, researchers found a link between obesity and gum disease in younger people.

>Gum diseases include a mild form called gingivitis, in which gums bleed easily. But that can progress to periodontitis, in which bacteria in the plaque irritate the gums and provoke an inflammatory response, according to the American Academy of Periodontology.

The common denominator may be inflammation, Cochran said. "Periodontal inflammation and inflammation throughout the body are very much associated with one another," he said.

While the new studies don't prove cause-and-effect, Cochran said it's reason enough to recommend a heart-healthy diet that's also good for your gums.

-Kathleen Doheny

More information

To assess your risk of gum disease, visit the American Academy of Periodontology.



SOURCES: Monik Jimenez, doctoral candidate, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston; David Cochran, D.D.S., Ph.D., president, American Academy of Periodontology, and professor and chairman, department of periodontics, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio; April 4, 2009, presentation, International Association of Dental Research general session, Miami Beach, Fla.

Last Updated: April 05, 2009

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