Studies Link Gum Health to Kidney Disease

family dental care in Beaverton

When it comes to family dental care in Beaverton, it’s easy to think that the only thing at stake is the health of your teeth and gums. However, Dr. Barrett wants all of his patients to know that their health oral health plays a significant role in determining their overall health. Studies have repeatedly found surprising connections between tooth decay and gum disease, also called periodontal disease, and a such chronic conditions as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Periodontal health has once again been linked to kidney health in two new studies that found a significant association between chronic kidney infection and signs of poor gum health.

In one of the studies, gum inflammation was linked with a decrease in kidney function, while the other found that patients with significant signs of gum disease were more likely to develop poor kidney function in the future. This research adds to growing amount of data that shows the intricate relationship that exists between our oral and overall health.

“Poor oral health – and particularly destructive periodontitis – is associated with poor prognostic factors in chronic kidney disease patients, including malnutrition and inflammation, and may predict progressive kidney disease,” wrote lead researcher Dr. Jacopo Buti. “Periodontal diseases have also been linked to systemic adverse outcomes in patients with other comorbidities, including diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.”

Gum Disease Linked to Bodily Inflammation

Chronic kidney disease impacts the lives of millions of Americans and ranks as the ninth leading cause of death in the U.S. Early research has linked chronic kidney disease to heart disease through systemic inflammation and oxidative stress. This led researchers in the U.K. to investigate whether those same factors could also link gum disease with kidney disease.

To find the answer to this question, researchers recruited 770 patients dealing with stage 3 to stage 5 predialysis chronic kidney disease. Researchers recorded gum inflammation using the periodontal inflamed surface area (PISA) score and kidney function using estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), a test used to measure kidney function.

Researchers discovered that a 10 percent increase in PISA score correlated to a 2.5 percent decrease in eGFR, suggesting that gum inflammation indirectly impacted kidney health. Researchers believe that one of the ways gum inflammation might impact kidney function is by influencing certain elements in the blood that are then transported to the kidneys. The team found that oxidative stress – stress that occurs on a cellular level – could be caused by gum inflammation, which in turn impacts kidney function.

While the results of this study were preliminary, researchers believe that the subject requires further examination to determine the full effect gum inflammation can have on kidney function.

Kidney Health and Gum Disease

In the second study, a research team led by Dr. Buti examined how dental and periodontal health metrics related to eGFR using data collected from nearly 200 patients with stage 3 to 5 kidney disease.

At the beginning of the study, the participants underwent a complete dental and periodontal examination where patients were scored for plaque buildup, gum bleeding, and severely decay missing, and filled teeth. The eGFR of the patients was then monitored for a 5-year period.

Researchers discovered that patients with chronic kidney disease were found to have significant oral health treatment needs and that 89 percent had moderate or severe gum disease. Additionally, the eGFR scores were significantly linked to the overall gum health of the patients, and that poor gum health metrics recorded at the beginning of the study were strongly associated with a future decline in kidney function.

Despite the evidence uncovered by the study, researchers remain uncertain about what exactly causes the link between gum and kidney health. What these and other studies do strongly suggest, however, is the need for regular dental care.

Protecting Your Health

Receiving regular family dental care in Beaverton, along with brushing and flossing daily, ranks as the best ways of protecting your long-term health. Regular exams from Dr. Barrett allow him to spot the early signs of gum disease before the condition can become worse. Frequent cleanings provide our staff of gentle dental hygienists the opportunity to remove plaque deposits for the surface of your teeth. Plaque buildup ranks as one of the leading causes of gum disease.

Don’t make family dental care in Beaverton a matter of convenience. Take charge of your oral and overall health by scheduling your next appointment with Dr. Barrett today.