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.

The Dental Patient with Parkinson’s Disease

Chewing and Swallowing with Parkinson’s Disease

About 1 million Americans are living with Parkinson’s disease or PD, that we know as a neurodegenerative disorder wherein brain cells progressively die. Parts of the brain affected will manifest in motor and nonmotor symptoms. Hence, there’ll be tremors, rigidity, extreme slowness of movement, and impaired balance. Swallowing and speaking difficulties are also common, all seriously affecting quality of life.

Persons with Parkinson’s also have oral health issues just like anyone else. However, they face more challenging scenarios that impede or at least make difficult dental problems that are otherwise simple for healthier individuals.

If facial muscles are affected, it can change the way they speak or chew food, more so if they have a toothache or are missing some teeth. Unable to chew, Parkinson’s sufferers are unable to swallow more than bite-sized food and can run the risk of choking. They can also accidentally aspirate or inhale food or drink particles that can lead to lung infections, like pneumonia. If they have rheumatoid arthritis and are taking medications for that, the drugs can depressed their immune system and leave them open to a higher risk of infections that their oral cavity and structures may not be able to handle.

It may seem that little may have changed with regards to the dental challenges faced by persons with PD. Many years ago, a study in Hokkaido, Japan tested a group of patients with the condition as against a control group. It concluded that PD patients had more complaints about their oral health and more problems in oral health behavior than the general population.

It reported also that PD patients had more complaints of chewing difficulties and denture discomfort than controls. Fewer PD patients had their own teeth. Likewise, it also said that few PD patients cleaned their dentures every day and more than half of them had problems with swallowing.

Be that as it may, regular visits to the dentist, as well as twice daily brushing and flossing, and proper cleaning of dentures, will help to eliminate most dental issues with persons suffering from Parkinson’s.

Caring for the Parkinson’s Patient in Bellingham

Bellingham dentistry recognizes the special needs of persons with PD, the condition making proper oral hygiene and oral health behavior full of challenges. We are more than capable to meet those. Come visit us for an appointment.

Dental Concerns of the Diabetic Patient

Diabetics and The Dental Risks They Face

Time and again, dental practitioners see diabetics coming in for consultation and treatment for any of the various issues that concern ordinary, non-diabetic persons. While issues are the same and that may require similar approaches, the medical condition of diabetes mellitus is an added burden that makes treatment much more challenging. Both dentist and patient take more precautions and enter into a higher level of commitment for treatment plan success.

Diabetics are generally poor wound healers. Due to often times uncontrolled blood sugar levels, these patients cannot just have tooth extractions, root canal therapy, implantation, ordinary prophylaxis or any surgery. They need meticulous preparations to ready them for such procedures. For example, diabetics need to normalize their blood sugar first before a dental procedure as the resultant wound tend to heal very slowly. In that time, complications may also arise.

These patients also suffer from dry mouth syndrome. It is an effect of the disease. With no or very little saliva, the diabetic’s teeth are more prone to bacterial attack, starting cavities and tooth decay. Saliva is supposed to help hydrate the mouth, washing away food debris and disabling colonization of bacteria. The patient needs to take fluids or water constantly. Likewise, due to dry mouth, ulcers are common, appearing on gums and soft tissue.

Periodontal disease is more common among diabetics. It is in fact considered a complication of diabetes. Severe periodontal disease can increase blood sugar, contributing to increased periods of time when the body functions with a high blood sugar. This puts people with diabetes at increased risk for diabetic complications, from nerve paralysis to blindness, kidney disease, heart attack or stroke. Dentists and doctors agree that control of blood sugar is the best protection against periodontal disease.

If diabetics are compliant with their medications, insulin, exercise, and proper nutrition, they can expect to live normal lives. If they are into foot care, eye examinations, they must also mind their dental health. Regular dental visits are a must, cleanings, and proper oral hygiene at home, to keep their risks at bay.

Caring for the Diabetic Patient in Bellingham

Bellingham dentistry believes that the diabetic patient who takes care of his oral health as well as his other concerns is a happier, healthier patient leading a normal life. For a consultation, give us a call.