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Does Body Mass Affect Dental Health?

Affinity Health is a leading provider of high-quality health cover. Here are their findings on how weight affects dental health in children.


Dental decay is the most common childhood disease worldwide. Sugary food is the main culprit responsible for rotting teeth and gum disease. But did you know that inflammation in the body due to being overweight can also wreak havoc on your oral health?


There is a link between the incidence of dental caries and obesity. Children who are overweight or obese are more likely to suffer bone loss density and lose teeth. That would be due to gum disease than those with a healthy body mass index.


Learn More: What Causes Childhood Obesity?

The following causes many health conditions and oral cavities:

  • An increased caloric intake
  • Highly processed sugars and fats
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Consuming fewer fruits and vegetables
  • Lower fibre intake
  • Lack of a balanced, healthy diet

All these factors lead to an increase in tooth decay and gum disease in children. That creates risk factors for later-life health issues.


“Obesity is a problem in healthcare for the current generation. It has led to diabetes, heart disease, and cancer,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health. Hewlett is also a Doctoral candidate at the University of Liverpool.


“Being overweight can have negative effects on children’s teeth and gums. The varied meals consumed have dangerously high levels of carbs and processed sugars. That leads to tooth decay and gum disease among overweight and obese children.”

What are Dental Caries?

Tooth decay is also often known as dental caries or cavities. It is irreversible damage to the enamel and underlying structure of teeth.


Many variables contribute to the creation of cavities, such as:

  • Sugary food consumption
  • Bacterial growth
  • Poor oral hygiene


Essentially, the enamel erodes and leaves a fracture that begins to decay. If left ignored, the damage can worsen and cause pain and tooth loss.


Sometimes, dentists can miss cavities in children. That is when concealed between teeth or the gum line. As they intensify, it becomes difficult to ignore the signals.

Common signs of dental caries in children include:

  • Discolouration, including white or black spots
  • Visible tooth decay
  • Chewing problems
  • Aching pain
  • Tooth Sensitivity
  • Fragile teeth

Even primary teeth (baby – or milk teeth) can develop caries. It may seem unnecessary to treat them. They will ultimately fall out, but the bacteria can spread. But the decay may also affect a child’s permanent teeth beneath. Frequent visits to the dentist and x-rays can fix problems before they become severe.

The Relationship Between Obesity and Dental Health

Oral health and obesity overlap risk factors. Both are connected with bad dietary behaviours, such as:

  • Consuming sugary soft drinks
  • Snacks
  • Sugar-rich diets


So, it is essential to adopt a combined approach to promote general and oral health.


The transition from childhood to adolescence is a crucial period of life. Adolescents learn essential health-related behavioural habits. Childhood food habits that are unhealthy transition into adulthood.


The last decade has had increased consumption of sugar. That worsens dental health and raises body mass index (BMI).


What is BMI?

Body mass index (BMI) is a calculation that uses height and weight to estimate how much body fat someone has.


BMI calculations need to consider various factors to calculate body fat. But it is still an important tool to measure the following:

  • How a child’s total weight impacts their body composition.
  • How nutrition, genetics, and environment affect BMI.


Your child’s healthcare practitioner is best qualified to measure your child’s BMI.


Dentists are in a unique position when it comes to managing childhood obesity. Their insights can provide parents with many options for improving their child’s health.


Dentists can provide a variety of remedies. They address concerns and assist with modifying and transforming lifestyle habits. These many options may include:

Identifying Increased Risks:

Dentists cannot diagnose diseases outside of oral health. But they can identify the increased risk of certain conditions.

Discussing Diet and Advice:

Diet plays a large role in oral health, so your child’s dentist can tell you which foods children should avoid.

Extend Medical Collaboration:

Obesity cannot be solved by a single professional. Dentists can work with other healthcare team members to improve their patient’s health.

Introducing Affinity Junior

Early dental caries detection is critical. Thus, Affinity Junior provides affordable healthcare coverage for your children.


The unique feature of the Affinity Junior plan is that the policy insures only your children. For more information on Affinity Junior, click here.


Learn More: How Much Should I Weigh for My Height and Age?

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is the leading provider of affordable medical insurance in South Africa. Members enjoy access to a network of healthcare providers. We have designed healthcare products to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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