Healthy Weight, Better Gums?
Active Lifestyle, Good Diet, Healthy Weight Tied to Better Oral Health
Aug. 24, 2005 -- Losing extra pounds, revving up physical activity, and eating nutritious foods may give you a new reason to smile.
Healthy teeth and gums are more common in active people who eat nutritiously and aren't overweight, a new study shows.
The study appears in the Journal of Periodontology. It was conducted by researchers including Nabil Bissada, DDS, chairman of the periodontics department at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine.
Healthy Body, Healthy Mouth
Data came from a national health survey of more than 12,000 people. The findings:
Gum disease was rarest among people with all three traits. Only 7% of them had gum disease, compared with 18% of those with none of those traits.
Benefits for the Mouth
Why did the mouth mirror overall health? The researchers note these possibilities:
Here's how the researchers defined their terms:
- Moderate-intensity physical activity at least 5 times per week or vigorous intensity activity at least 3 times per week
- Normal BMI (body mass index) of 18.5 to 24.9
- High score on an index of healthy foods eaten over the past day
Moderate-intensity physical activity would include activities such as walking at a moderate or brisk pace of 3 to 4.5 miles per hour on a level terrain. Vigorous-intensity physical activity includes race walking or aerobic walking at 5 miles per hour or greater, jogging, or running. According to the CDC, in general activities in the moderate-intensity range would require 25-50 minutes to expend a moderate amount of activity, and activities in the vigorous-intensity range would require less than 25 minutes to achieve a moderate amount of activities.
Participants reported their own weight, activity level, and food habits. That leaves a little wiggle room about accuracy. Plus, the study was a one-time snapshot, not a long-term look at health.
Still, the basics -- move more, ditch excess weight, and make good food choices -- are widely recommended as staples of a healthy life.
Brushing and flossing your teeth may also as researchers reported in February.