ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
Pain-Relieving Powers of Acupuncture Unclear
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Fractures in Older Adults Up Death Risk
Get in Step With Summer Foot Care
Many Americans Fall Short on Their Vitamin D
CANCER
Some Spices Cut Cancer Risk That Comes With Grilled Burgers
Many Ignore Symptoms of Bladder Trouble
Vitamin C Shows Promise as Cancer Treatment
CAREGIVING
UV Lights, Fans May Curb TB Spread in Hospitals
Study Casts Doubt on Influential Hospital Safety Survey
Reduce Suffering, Urge Heart Failure Patients and Caregivers
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
DIABETES
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
TV Food Ads Promote Bad Diets
Compound in Berries May Lessen Sun Damage
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
As Earth Warms, Lyme Disease Could Flourish
Climate Change Linked to Longer Pollen Seasons
Walkable Neighborhoods Keep the Pounds Off
EYE CARE, VISION
FDA Goes After Unapproved Eye Washes, Skin Ointments
Magnetic Pulses to Brain Improve Lazy Eye in Adults
Just Like Skin, Eyes Can 'Burn' in Strong Sun
FITNESS
As Temperature Plummets, It's Still Safe to Exercise
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
More Single Women Are Having Babies
Tune Up Your Health With Music
Autumn Chores Often Hazardous
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Risk Factor for Stroke More Common Among Whites
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
MEN'S HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
SENIORS
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Natural Relief for Painful Menstrual Cramps
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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