Adam Davids reviews the link between body weight and oral health.

The focus on oral health in the UK today is perhaps better than ever before. Regular dental visits, proper brushing and flossing techniques, and a balanced diet are all cornerstones of maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Still, 39 per cent of the population doesn’t go to the dentist regularly, and up to 66 per cent have visible plaque. That shows despite the strides forward, there is still work to do alerting people to the dangers faced by their teeth and gums.

Whilst things like smoking, drinking and sugar are all associated with poor oral hygiene, people’s weight is not – this is a fallacy. The truth is that whilst a significant portion of the population grapples with the consequences of being overweight or obese, the issues this causes can extend beyond just physical health. It’s believed up to 25.9 per cent of UK adults are obese, and a further 37.9 per cent are overweight but not obese. That’s a ticking health timebomb, and it could affect dentistry and oral health just as much as anything.

Why losing weight is good for your teeth

When it comes to oral health, excess weight can pose a multitude of risks. Firstly, individuals who are overweight or obese are more prone to developing conditions such as periodontal disease. This inflammatory disease affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth, leading to symptoms like swollen gums, gum recession, and even tooth loss. Research has shown a clear link between obesity and an increased risk of periodontal disease, highlighting the importance of weight management in preserving dental health.

In addition to this, poor dietary habits often accompany excess weight, which can wreak havoc on teeth. High consumption of sugary and acidic foods not only contributes to weight gain but also fuels the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth, leading to tooth decay and cavities. By adopting healthier eating habits and shedding excess weight, individuals can significantly reduce their risk of dental caries and other oral health issues.

Additionally, obesity is associated with conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, both of which can have detrimental effects on oral health. Diabetes, for instance, can impair the body’s ability to fight off infections, including those in the mouth, while heart disease may necessitate medications that cause dry mouth—a known risk factor for tooth decay and gum disease.

All is not lost if you are worried about the effects of your weight on your health; the risks posed to your mouth and gums might just be the additional motivation to start getting into shape. If so, here are some key tips on losing excess weight and heading towards a healthier you, gums, teeth, and all.

How to lose weight effectively

Embarking on a weight loss journey can seem daunting, almost as much as a trip to the dentist! If you get one right, then the other might not be quite as frequent. The key lies in making sustainable lifestyle changes that promote both physical and oral health. Firstly, just as with oral health, diet plays a crucial role in weight management, and opting for nutrient-dense, whole foods is essential. Incorporating plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains into your meals can help keep you feeling satisfied while providing essential vitamins and minerals for optimal dental health. Limiting the intake of sugary snacks and beverages is also crucial in preventing tooth decay and gum disease. You don’t have to cut out everything you enjoy, but instead, look to strike balances and perhaps swap high-sugar and high-fat foods for healthier alternatives.

As well as mindful eating, regular exercise is hugely important for shedding pounds and improving overall wellbeing. Aim for a combination of cardiovascular activities, such as walking, running, or cycling, along with strength training exercises to build muscle and boost metabolism. Finding activities you enjoy can make sticking to an exercise routine more enjoyable and sustainable in the long run. Simple things, like aiming for 10,000 steps per day and ditching the car for the walk to the shops, can make a massive difference in the long run.

Finally, seeking support from peers can greatly enhance your weight loss efforts. This is really easy to do – just search for ‘weight loss clubs near me’ on the internet, and you’ll be connected to like-minded people who want to help you get in shape. Whether you’re looking for expert advice, diet tips, or just a community of people who know what you’re going through, you’ll find it at the right weight loss club. Indeed, having a support system can provide motivation, accountability, and encouragement along the way.


By prioritising weight loss, you’ll not only benefit your waistline but also your oral health. By making healthier lifestyle choices, including nutritious eating habits, regular exercise, and seeking support from peers, you can pave the way for a healthier, happier smile. So, let’s take a step towards a brighter future—one that’s filled with both confidence and optimal dental health.

References available on request.