ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Meditation May Boost Short-Term Visual Memory
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Acupuncture Cuts Dry Mouth in Cancer Patients
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Soccer's a Winner for Building Bone Health in Girls
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
Gene Therapy May Ease Rheumatoid Arthritis
CANCER
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
More Cancer Tests Mean More False-Positive Results
Many Ignore Symptoms of Bladder Trouble
CAREGIVING
Undoing the 'Big Baby' Trend
MRSA Infections Spreading to Kids in Community
Many Alzheimer's Caregivers Admit to Abusive Behavior
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
DIABETES
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
DIET, NUTRITION
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Fasting on Alternate Days May Make Dieting Easier
Trans Fat Labeling Gets Tricky
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Vest Monitors 'Individual' Air Pollution
Vitamin D Deficit May Trigger MS Risk Gene
Global Warming May Bring More Respiratory Woes
EYE CARE, VISION
Music Can Help Restore Stroke Patients' Sight
Kids Who Spend More Time Outdoors Have Better Vision
It's a Whole New Outlook for Cataract Patients
FITNESS
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Avoiding a Holiday Season of Discontent
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
It Pays to Eat Less as You Age
Eating Healthy : You Can Live Longer
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Ginkgo Won't Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Elderly
Whole Grains Lower Risk of Heart Failure
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
MEN'S HEALTH
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Keeping a Healthy Holiday Balance
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
SENIORS
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
Martial Arts Training May Save Seniors' Hips
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Vitamin D Deficiency Puts 40% of U.S. Infants and Toddlers At Risk
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Natural Childbirth Moms More Attuned to Babies' Cry
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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