By Dental Tribune International.

MADRID, Spain/PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil: Although researchers have previously investigated and analysed the relationship between periodontitis and obesity, little attention has been paid to the role an individual’s biological sex may play in this regard. A recently published, five-year study of individuals in Porto Alegre, Brazil, has rectified this oversight and has discovered that obese females are far more likely to suffer from the progression of periodontal attachment loss (PAL) than obese males.

The study’s research team interviewed 582 individuals who had been interviewed and clinically examined five years prior and met their inclusion criteria. These individuals were weighed and their Body Mass Index was calculated according to the World Health Organization’s criteria, with 19 per cent of the sample being categorised as obese.

The researchers discovered that obese individuals were more likely to experience the progression of periodontal disease than those of normal weight. However, their findings also demonstrated that obese females had a 64 per cent increased risk for PAL progression, whereas there was no observed increase in this risk for obese males.

“Obesity and periodontal disease are important public health problems,” explained Dr Eduardo José Gaio, the lead author of the study.

“Periodontitis affects more than 50 per cent of adults worldwide and the prevalence of overweight and obesity in individuals is approximately 60 per cent. This is one of the few longitudinal studies assessing the effect of obesity on periodontal health and the first one to investigate the possibility that sex may modify this relationship.”

Gaio’s study is one of the finalists for the inaugural Perio Link Award, a competition organised by the SUNSTAR Foundation. Adjudicated by a committee of dental experts, the competition is designed to raise public awareness of the important research that is being conducted on the link between oral and systemic health. The winner of the Perio Link Award will win a trip to EuroPerio9, a congress hosted by the European Federation of Periodontology in Amsterdam, from 20 to 23 June 2018. The winner will be formally recognised at an awards ceremony at the event and will receive a monetary prize of €1,000.

The study, titled “Effect of obesity on periodontal attachment loss progression: a five-year population-based prospective study”, was published online in March 2017 in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology Digest and is available for viewing here.