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Obesity and Diabetes: Prevention and Intervention in the Dental Setting


September 29, 2023 - 16:00 - 17:00

Topic Description :

Obesity and Diabetes: Prevention and Intervention in the Dental Setting


Dental professionals have an important role in the prevention and detection of many oral and systemic diseases because of their diagnostic and screening abilities, as well as the frequency of patient visits. These invaluable skills and practice paradigms should be considered as part of the equation to solve one of the largest public health concerns of our time: the obesity and diabetes epidemic. There is a well-described connection between periodontal disease and diabetes, with implications that the relationship may be bi-directional. Periodontal disease and obesity are associated with inflammatory stress and increased production of proinflammatory cytokines. Clearly, these associations should be reasons for the dental profession to intervene in the rise of obesity. Insufficient sleep is another factor in the obesity problem and screening for sleep habits could be part of a  comprehensive dental assessment, along with height, weight, blood pressure. The dental profession is in a unique position to identify and aid in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea, a condition associated with obesity and diabetes. The rise of obesity and type 2 diabetes in children is of great concern and the dental profession can play a role in raising awareness of overweight status as well as obesity risk behavior.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will become familiar with the current prevalence of obesity in the US and other countries.
  2. Participants will be able to discuss the relationship between obesity and oral health
  3. Participants will be more aware of their patients’ health risks with respect to obesity.
  4. Participants will be able to implement a screening and possible intervention in their own clinical sites.
  5. Participants will be able to identify behaviors that increase obesity and contribute to poor health.


There is interest in the relationship of body weight and obesity to oral diseases. This interest derives from the recognized association of diabetes and obesity, and the importance of the relationship of diabetes and oral health. The mechanism that is believed to account for the relationship of diabetes and periodontitis is enhanced local and systemic inflammation, and the role of adipocyte and macrophage –associated production of inflammatory mediators is an important part of that relationship. In addition, weight gain is often related to food intake, and the intake of fermentable carbohydrates can have an effect on the dentition and other tissues in the oral cavity. In addition, this association is of interest because being overweight and obese is associated with sleep apnea, and dental professionals are expanding their role in treating this disorder.

Being overweight and obese has also been associated with an increased risk of oral/dental disease. These associations require dental professionals to be vigilant, treat disorders when they are detected, and develop a preventive regimen to reduce the chance of future complications. Further, oral health care professionals need to consider a role in obesity management for their patients. They are well versed in delivering a nutrition message related to carbohydrate intake, and this new responsibility could improve both the oral health and general health of patients seen in dental offices

Speaker :

Dr. Mary Tavares

Senior Clinical Investigator
Program Director in Dental Public Health and Clinical Professor
Forsyth Research Institute/
Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine – USA


Dr. Mary Tavares is a Senior Clinical Investigator at The Forsyth Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. Currently, she is also a Clinical Professor at Boston University Goldman School of Graduate Dentistry, directing the Dental Public Health residency program. A graduate of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, she received a Masters in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health and a certificate in Dental Public Health from Boston University. Dr. Tavares is a 1990 alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Health Services Research Fellowship for dental faculty.
With a research career spanning three decades, Dr. Tavares was part of a Forsyth team that collaborated with the Kuwait Ministry of Health to create a dental care delivery system for children and she was a co-Principal Investigator in the NIH-funded New England Children’s Amalgam Trial that examined the safety of using mercury amalgam fillings in children.
Currently Dr. Tavares’ research looks into the connection between systemic and oral health, with a particular focus on obesity and diabetes. She developed The Healthy Weight Intervention program for children to be used in dental offices and has written several chapters and papers on the topic of obesity intervention in dental settings. She is the Principal Investigator of the Kuwait Healthy Lifestyle Study that, under Dr. Max Goodson, followed a cohort of Kuwaiti children for 10 years, collecting blood and saliva samples to correlate with changes in BMI and diabetes status.

Accredited by

INDEX Conferences & Exhibitions Organisation LLC is an ADA CERP Recognized Provider. ADA CERP is a service of the American Dental Association to assist dental professionals in identifying quality providers of continuing dental education. ADA CERP does not approve or endorse individual courses or instructors, nor does it imply acceptance of credit hours by boards of dentistry. INDEX Conferences & Exhibitions Organisation LLC. designates this activity for 1 continuing education credits.

The International Congress For Health Specialties – ICHS certifies that The Waterfalls Initiative for Continuous Education who are organizing the Obesity and Diabetes: Prevention and Intervention in the Dental Setting Webinar adopting an online learning format on September 29, 2023 shall be awarded 1 ICHS CME Credit.

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