Researchers claim that obesity can affect orthodontic treatment
Dental researchers at King’s College London have claimed that obesity could increase the movement of teeth.
In a report published in the Journal of Dental Research, Dr HF Saloom of the Dental Institute of King’s College, London revealed that when measuring the difference between the progressions of tooth movement during orthodontic treatment, the group with a Body Mass Index (BMI) classified as obese saw a significant displacement of teeth during the first week of treatment. As well as this, the group had increased tooth movement during the alignment phase, showing a potential correlation between weight and tooth movement.
The study was made up of two groups of young people. One group consisted of people of of normal weight, whilst those in the other group were classified as obese. They both underwent orthodontic treatment, and alignment rates were reported at each weekly appointment until the completion of treatment.
Having removed confounding factors, the hypothesis is that there is a connection between pro-inflammatory markers in obese young people and the rate of movement of teeth, with implications for long term oral health and long term success of orthodontic treatment, which further research could explore.
However, there are caveats with this study: the two groups are still currently in treatment, and the research team will be following up their treatment until its completion. Although there was an average reduction of treatment time for obese patients of an average of 23 days, this was not considered statistically significant, and as such it may not stand to reason that obesity will reduce the time spent wearing orthodontic treatments such as braces.