If you have gum disease and chronic kidney disease or CKD, you may not realize there could be a connection between the two conditions. But a new study has found that not only are the two conditions often comorbid (occurring together) they could also make each other worse.
The study was conducted by the University of Birmingham and found that the connection could be caused by an issue with the body’s antioxidant cells and its oxygen producing free radicals. It seems that when the two get out of balance, the two conditions feed off of each other. In fact, researchers in the study found that the worse a patient’s gum inflammation, the worse their kidney function. Furthermore, patients with both chronic kidney disease and periodontitis had a lower survival rate than those with CKD and healthier gums.
While this isn’t meant to scare you, it is meant to highlight the importance of oral health and of treating periodontitis, especially if you have or suspect you could have CKD. You can be screened for periodontitis at your regular oral health checkup with Dr. Mingus. This includes assessing the gums by measuring the gingival pockets, and visibly examining the gums for swelling, tenderness, and bleeding.
If you are diagnosed with periodontitis, don’t despair. There are treatment options available. These may include deep cleaning, gum grafting, prescription toothpaste, and prescription mouthwash. You may also be prescribed antibiotics.
As for chronic kidney disease, this is a very serious condition that should be addressed with your doctor. There are medical options for treating CKD and helping to improve symptoms. In advanced cases, you may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
If you suspect you have periodontitis (red swollen gums, bleeding when you brush) please reach out to Dr. Mingus for a dental exam. Periodontitis is easily treatable, but can quickly worsen to permanent damage such as tooth and gum tissue loss if not addressed. Don’t be afraid of the treatment and allow the problem to get worse in the meantime.
To prevent periodontitis and keep your kidney function at a higher level, be sure to brush and floss twice a day, for at least two minutes at a time,