Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley CA
Have you recently gained weight? Maybe you’ve been struggling to shed some extra pounds. Either situation can be extremely frustrating. You can diet and exercise and still struggle to meet your weight-loss goals. Scotts Valley dentists at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry know a contributing factor that could be increasing your weight struggles—poor dental health. Read on to see how gum disease and unhealthy teeth could be fueling your weight problem.
Check Your Diet
Dieting is difficult at the best of times, but if you’re dealing with dental pain, this can lead to more unhealthy food choices. The first food you should reach for when trying to lose weight is fresh produce. However, if eating crunchy fruits and vegetables is causing you discomfort, it could be a sign of temporomandibular joint disorder or even gum disease. TMJ disorder can make regular chewing painful; for someone with a severe case, chewing even a stick of celery can be excruciating. Advanced gum disease can loosen your teeth so that biting an apple could make you feel like your teeth are about to fall out. This restricts your food choice and can make it much more difficult to get proper nutrition. In turn, you eat more processed foods, which are softer but also have more fat, sugar, and sodium. Being unable to eat a balanced diet could make it impossible to lose weight or stop gaining weight.
How Your Teeth Affect Exercise
Regular exercise is a key component of any weight loss regimen, but poor dental health can make working out feel more difficult. Any time your body is fighting an infection like gum disease, it burns resources to combat that infection. This can make you feel lethargic. This is especially true for people who also suffer from diabetes, who already have problems with metabolizing energy. Remember also that gum disease and diabetes are linked. Chronic pain also can make it hard to exercise. If you have TMJ disorder, it can cause pain throughout your body, affecting your neck, shoulders, and even your spine. People with TMJ disorder often experience chronic pain that makes it hard to function normally from day to day—much less exercise. Maintaining balance or lifting even light weights could be more challenging for someone with TMJ disorder. The ailment also raises your risk of falls and injuries during any physical activity.
The Risks of Inflammation
Weight gain, diabetes, and gum disease all are tied to inflammation. When you have gum disease, the infection makes your body release inflammatory compounds. These compounds alter your body’s ability to use energy and store fat. Inflammation of this nature slows the production of leptin, a protein in your body that helps you feel full. Less leptin means you feel hungry more often, eat more frequently, and—you guessed it—gain more weight.
You’re Not Alone
Millions of people share your struggle with both oral health issues and weight problems. According to the TMJ Association, roughly 12 percent of Americans (about 35 million people) suffer from TMJ disorder at some point in their lives. Many times, someone with TMJ disorder never gets properly diagnosed or treated. You could be living with this debilitating condition and never realize you have it. Gum disease is even more destructive, affecting 64.7 million people in the United States over the age of 30. Gum disease and TMJ don’t always present themselves quickly. They get misdiagnosed and go untreated. Both of these ailments can run rampant, causing problems in other areas of your body. We mentioned some of the effects of TMJ disorder. Meanwhile, the bacterial infection that causes gum disease can spread throughout your body, even elevating your risk of heart disease.
Whole Health Dentistry in Scotts Valley
At Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry, our family dentists Dr. Max and Dr. Ariana Ebrahimian believe in the mouth-body connection. Oral health is a substantial contributing factor to your overall health. It just makes sense that if your mouth is sick, you can’t function at your best. Don’t keep avoiding healthy foods. Find the energy you’ve lost. Stop your chronic pain. Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry wants to help you. That’s why we offer comprehensive services that include treatment for both TMJ disorder and gum disease. Living with either of these ailments can have huge effects on your overall health and wellness. We also can provide advice on maintaining good oral hygiene and even provide nutritional advice that can benefit both your mouth and your waistline. If you’re in the areas of Scotts Valley, Santa Cruz, or Los Gatos, California, contact our office today by calling (831) 824-5111 to start living a healthier lifestyle.