We all know that maintaining a healthy weight is good for us and that excess pounds carry risks – but were you aware that obesity has also been linked to gum disease? Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that support teeth. Millions of Americans suffer from this dental health problem, which has also been identified as a potential indicator of more serious diseases.

A 2006 study published in the Journal of Periodontology found evidence that a higher body mass index was a significant predictor for gum disease, even when controlling for factors such as age, race and smoking habits. The specific details of the relationship were not determined, but researchers at the University of Buffalo suggested that insulin resistance could play a role in both conditions.

Commenting on the findings, Dr Kenneth A. Krebs of the American Academy of Periodontology said that people should keep an eye on both their weight and their dental health. “Although further studies are needed, people should remember that living a healthy lifestyle – along with daily brushing and flossing and visiting your oral healthcare provider – is always in fashion,” he remarked.