According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), obesity is a global health problem that has reached epidemic proportions. Our modern lifestyle means that we expend limited calorific output and spend an increased amount of time engaged in sedentary activities. We are inundated with relatively inexpensive, high calorie food and drink and we now consume larger portions than our predecessors. Consequently 67% of men and 57% of women in the UK are overweight or obese and the UK has the third highest rate of excess weight in Western Europe behind Iceland and Malta.
Obesity causes physical changes which affect mobility and can also lead to many serious and potentially life-threatening conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, sleep apnoea, complications in pregnancy, osteoarthritis and some types of cancer, for example breast and bowel cancer. In addition, as dental professionals will be profoundly aware, sugary and acidic foods and drinks have a serious impact on the health of teeth and a nutritionally poor diet can affect the entire immune system, increasing the body’s susceptibility to many disorders.[i] It has been suggested that adipocytes – cells that specialise in storing energy as fat – appear to secrete pro-inflammatory cytokines and hormones that could be linked to the pathogenesis of certain diseases including periodontitis.[ii]
As well as the potential for dental problems and oral disease, research carried out in 2007 discovered that overweight or obese individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of over 25 or 30 respectively, were significantly more likely to have unpleasant breath.[iii] A more recent study conducted in 2015 involving 359,263 adolescent participants confirmed that the frequent intake of carbonated drinks, fast food, instant noodles and confectionary, as well as a low intake of fruit and vegetables was related to halitosis.
Interestingly, it has been revealed that some microorganisms naturally occurring within the body are linked to weight gain. A study, which analysed the breath of 792 individuals, discovered that if a particular archaea that lives in the digestive tract, Methanobrevibacter smithii, becomes overabundant, it could cause an imbalance that makes people more likely to gain weight.[iv] This organism helps to convert food to energy and also releases hydrogen and methane gases, which when elevated, can cause malodourous breath in the mouths of the overweight.
Along with the physical effects, weight problems can also have a direct impact on the psychological wellbeing of individuals. Patients can experience difficulties such as low self-esteem, low mood, anxiety and body dissatisfaction, which significantly affect their quality of life. Of course, these symptoms can be exacerbated if the patient also suffers from unpleasant breath.
In order to help these patients, practitioners can offer dietary advice to address both weight and dental issues and suggest the use of a daily deodorising mouthwash such as CB12 to prevent oral malodour. The clinically proven formula of CB12 firstly targets and neutralises the volatile sulphur compounds (VSCs) that cause oral malodour and also prevents it from reoccurring for up to 12 hours. In this way, dental professionals can resolve unpleasant breath and boost the confidence and self-esteem of the patient, which can lead to a far better quality of life.
[i] Lamas O, Marti A, Martinez J. Obesity and immunucompetence. European journal of clinical nutrition, 2002, 56(Suppl. 3):842–45. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12142961. [Accessed 25th November 2015]
[ii] Carmela Rita Balistreri, Calogero Caruso, and Giuseppina Candore, “The Role of Adipose Tissue and Adipokines in Obesity-Related Inflammatory Diseases,” Mediators of Inflammation, vol. 2010, Article ID 802078, 19 pages, 2010. doi:10.1155/2010/802078. hwww.hindawi.com/journals/mi/2010/802078/cta/ [Accessed 25th November 2015]
[iii] Tel Aviv University. "Overweight People More Likely To Have Bad Breath, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071213124931.htm (Accessed 25th November 2015).
[iv] Mathur, R., Amichai, M., Chua, K. S., Mirocha, J., Barlow, G. M., & Pimentel, M. (2013). Methane and hydrogen positivity on breath test is associated with greater body mass index and body fat. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 98(4), E698-E702. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3615195/ [Accessed 25the November 2015]