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31 January 2017

Impact of obesity on orthodontic tooth movement in adolescents

A new clinical study undertaken at King’s College London Dental Institute has revealed that obesity in adolescent patients influences the supporting tissues around the tooth and the response to orthodontic treatment with fixed braces.


The study was recently published in the Journal of Dental Research and demonstrated increased levels of inflammatory biomarkers within the gingival tissues of obese patients prior to orthodontic treatment, and a different response in this cohort during early tooth alignment with fixed braces when compared to normal-weight patients.

 In this prospective clinical cohort study, 55 adolescent patients (27 males and 28 females) with an average age of 15 years were followed from start of treatment to completion of tooth alignment with fixed braces. The participants were classified as normal-weight or obese based upon their Body Mass Index (BMI).

 Over the period of treatment, obese patients had a significantly increased rate of initial tooth movement and required less time to achieve tooth alignment when compared to normal-weight patients. What is interesting, is that a pro-inflammatory state was observed within the gingival tissues of obese patients prior to treatment, which was associated with more rapid initial tooth movement in this group. These findings demonstrate that obesity can significantly affect the oral tissues.

 Obesity levels are at epidemic proportions in Western societies, representing a major healthcare challenge because of the known associations between a raised BMI and multiple chronic diseases. It is recognized that obesity is a chronic inflammatory disorder, which is caused by the presence of excess fat.

 This is the first study to identify differences in orthodontic treatment response in obese patients compared to those with normal weight, and demonstrates that obesity can affect the dentition at both the biochemical and clinical level. These differences may have important implications for orthodontic treatment outcome over both the short and long-term for patients with obesity.


Papers mentioned in this release:

Impact of Obesity on Orthodontic Tooth Movement in Adolescents, A Prospective Clinical Cohort Study by H.F. Saloom, S.N. Papageorgiou, G.H. Carpenter, M.T. Cobourne was published in the Journal of Dental Research on January 23, 2017 and can be viewed here: