Link between oral disease and metabolic syndrome and obesity

18 April 2017 Congress
Ira Lamster photo

Prof Ira Lamster, Editor of the International Dental Journal and Professor in Public Health at Columbia University, will be lecturing on ‘Oral health/General health: The relationship of oral disease to the metabolic syndrome and obesity’ during the World Dental Congress in Madrid. Here, he underscores why possible links are an issue of concern for the dental profession.

What is metabolic syndrome in brief?

A group of conditions that includes obesity, dysglycemia, dyslipidemia, and hypertension, that are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus.

Are the term and its health outcomes well understood among members of the dental and oral health community?

Not at present, but awareness is increasing as more data is presented that links the metabolic syndrome and obesity to oral disease.

What will course participants take away from your lecture?

An understanding of how the metabolic syndrome and obesity impact oral disease, and the management of dental patients.

How can the relationship, which is the subject matter of your lecture, be applied to prevention and awareness-raising activities?

Oral health care providers should be able and willing to explain the relationship of oral disease to both the metabolic syndrome and obesity, and when appropriate, counsel patients.

Population-wide measures (e.g. soda taxes) targeting oral disease/obesity are hotly contested. Absent scientific proof, is there realistically any method of translating this relationship into policy?

Oral health care providers can become advocates for healthy living, including diet management and limiting sugar intake. These new responsibilities fit well with our understanding of the etiology of dental disease.

Will your lecture have any messages for public policy?

There is a need to expand the scope of dental practice to include assessment of the risk for chronic diseases.