A Study on the Relationship Between Number of Missing Teeth And Obesity in Istanbul
Aim: Although obesity is a growing problem for the entire world, its relationship with the dental health has not been fully appreciated. We have attempted to determine whether the number of missing teeth and hence the reduced chewing efficiency is a factor for obesity.
Materials and methods: This study has taken place in the Sports Physiology Clinic of the Marmara University Pendik Training and Research Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey. The subjects were the female outpatients of the clinic aged between 18 and 65 years old. Obesity variables, i.e., the heights, weights, BMI (body mass index) and body fat content of the patients were determined using a bio-impedance device (Tanita-BC418). Number of missing teeth was noted and the data were analyzed using SPSS software. Subjects were divided into two groups.
Results: Comparison of the Teethed Group (n=132) and the Teeth-Missing Group (n=294) for the obesity variables indicated that the body weight of the Teethed Group was significantly lower compared with the Teeth-Missing Group (p=0.035). The fat-free mass also indicated a significant difference between the two groups (p=0.022). When the individuals were compared according to the number of missing teeth, the individuals with less than 5 teeth missing were younger, taller and had lower BMI index compared with the individuals with 5 or more teeth missing ( p<0.05).
Conclusion: These findings indicate the importance of the dental health and hence loss of teeth as a significant factor for obesity. It is likely that the individuals with missing teeth would prefer softer food. Softer food does not require vigorous mastication and hence the degree of oral stimulation would be reduced in these individuals. Since the oral stimulation is one of the key factors for satiety, these individuals would have to eat larger portions for satisfaction, leading to obesity.
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