The human body is better geared to fighting gum disease when fat cells, which trigger inflammation, go away.
Inflammation that continues to brew in the body can have harmful effects over time, and inflammation from gum disease can erode bone and cause tooth loss.
Inflammation can also cause breaks in the gums where harmful oral bugs can enter the blood stream. They have been linked to pre-term birth, foetal death, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis, said Nabil Bissada, professor in periodontics at Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine.
The findings come from a pilot study of obese people with gum disease. Half of the group with an average body mass index (BMI), a height to weight ratio, of 39 had gastric bypass surgery and had fat cells from the abdomen removed, according to a Case Western statement.
That half fared better than a group of obese people with a BMI of 35 who were also treated for gum disease but did not have the gastric bypass surgery or fat removed, the Journal of Periodontology reports.
The majority of those who underwent surgery had a drop in their glucose levels.