Oral Health and Kidney Disease: What You Should Know

Linking The Mouth and the Kidneys

Growing in prevalence and associated with severe life-threatening complications, chronic kidney disease (CKD) is becoming a worldwide public health problem. In the US alone, 11.6% of adult Americans have chronic kidney disease. This gradual loss of kidney function, mainly caused by diabetes and uncontrolled high blood pressure, can lead to waste buildup in the body leading to kidney failure. This state of failure requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life.

Sufferers living with CKD encounter many health issues impacting quality of life. One of this is dental in nature. Did you know that during disease progression, a majority of CKD patients suffer oral complications, foremost is periodontal disease. Because those with kidney disease have weakened immune systems, they are more susceptible to infections. A study in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology reported that people with kidney disease and those on dialysis are more likely to have periodontal disease and other oral health problems than the general population. Some studies even said that it’s 90% of patients.

Patients undergoing dialysis manifest a variety of oral disorders. The teeth, oral mucosa, salivary glands, periodontium, and alveolar bone can all be affected, leading to manifestations like gingival bleeding, early tooth loss, periodontitis, and dry mouth, etc. Because of calcium imbalance or calcium loss the jaw bone can weaken and lead to loss of the teeth.

If a CKD patient requires a dental procedure, he must advise his doctor who will prescribe antibiotic cover to guard against infection. If the patient is on dialysis, dental procedures, even as simple as a tooth extraction, should be scheduled on a non-dialysis day. Heparin, a drug that inhibits blood coagulation, administered during dialysis, may cause some patients to have extra bleeding.

In the same vein, when a patient is scheduled for a kidney transplant, part of the workup is a thorough oral examination. Existing infections from gum disease or advanced tooth decay can defer a transplant procedure or prevent the patient from being eligible for the transplant until dental work is done. Caution is exercised in these situations because any oral infection can compromise these treatments for CKD.

Chronic Kidney Disease Patient in Bellingham

If you have a CKD patient who require expert oral care, see us in Bellingham. We at Dr. Tetrick’s know the special considerations for those with kidney disease.