Everything in our body is interconnected, including the link between our kidney health and oral health. When there is an issue with the kidneys, the rest of the body including the oral cavity, is susceptible to infection and disease.
Our kidneys filter and clean toxins from the blood while converting the waste into urine. When this process is interrupted or halted, many health systems can be adversely affected including our dental health.
This article looks at the various effects our oral health can have on our bodies (and vice versa), including whether a tooth infection can affect our kidneys. The science says yes.
How Does Oral Health Affect People with Kidney Problems?
Kidney problems can range from mild to life threatening within a short time. Kidney failure, or renal failure, occurs when one or both of the kidneys cannot function properly. With some cases, the issues are temporary wherein treatment can be short and quick to resolve the problem.
Any form of kidney failure can have an adverse effect on one’s dental health. In medical terms, the inner lining of the mouth, the mucosa, emits a foul odour, and sees development of red ulcers.
Kidney failure can also cause the bone disease known as renal osteodystrophy. The lack of phosphorus and calcium seen with dysfunction of the kidneys causes a quick demineralization of the oral cavity. The bones housing the teeth and supporting the jaw can weaken, causing the teeth to fall out.
Kidney disease and dental extractions are a common concern among patients with mild and debilitating health conditions. Extractions can occur due to oral infections caused by harmful bacteria. The initial inflammation of a dental problem can quickly transform into chronic infection, too powerful for the body’s defenses.
In addition to pain, chewing difficulty, and bad breath, chronic oral infections spread like wildfire throughout the body. Those with kidney problems have weak immune systems that fail to properly fight the infection. Kidney medications can also slow down the healing process by the body’s defense system.
Dental Health and Chronic Kidney Problems
Chronic kidney disease, or chronic kidney failure, sees an ongoing loss of kidney function. The kidneys filter toxins and when kidneys fail to work properly, the body begins to be adversely affected, including the oral health of a person.
Kidney diseases can lead to infections, inflammation, and hardening of the arteries. Tooth decay and tooth loss can quickly develop from these systemic effects. Chronic kidney disease weakens the immune system, increasing the risk for oral infections. Others oral health issues connected with chronic kidney disease include periapical and mucosal lesions.
Are People with Bad Dental Health at Risk of Kidney Issues?
The issues raised with kidney health depends directly on the condition of the mouth. Dental conditions of gum disease, periodontal disease, and tooth decay can potentially lead to problems within the functioning of the kidneys.
Studies have shown there is a direct correlation of oral inflammation and conditions affecting the kidneys including chronic diseases.
One study showed that a 10% increase in the presence of gum infection affected the functioning of the kidneys by 3%. Further investigation found with a 10% reduction in kidney function, study participants had a 25% increase in periodontal inflammation.
One common oral disease is periodontal disease. Bacteria become entrapped within the gum tissues, causing inflammation and infection. This form of gum disease can damage the soft tissues of the mouth.
More serious conditions can see the bone structure begin to decay resulting in tooth loss. Periodontal disease can have an adverse effect on the major organs in the body as the infection can travel through the bloodstream.
Are Dental Procedures Safe for People with Kidney Disease?
As our good dental health is vital for proper kidney function, it is imperative to continue regular dental check-ups if you have any form of kidney disease. Discuss your options with your physician as well as your dentist to create a dental care plan to treat oral issues with the least amount of damage to your kidneys.
If a dental procedure or surgery is necessary, prescription antibiotic may be required in the days or weeks before treatment. This can help reduce the risk of an infection travelling to the kidneys. Dialysis patients will need to schedule any dental procedure on a day that they are not receiving kidney treatment.
Kidney Transplant and Dental Health
An evaluation and assessment for people requiring a kidney transplant includes a thorough dental examination. This is to ensure there are no risks for infections from possible gum disease or tooth decay as infection can delay or halt the transplant procedure.
A kidney transplant demands use of certain immunosuppressive medications to increase the chances of the body accepting the new organ. These same medications reduce the body’s ability to fight infection. The pre-transplant assessment focuses on all infection possibilities.
Post-transplant, patients are cautioned to wait for three months before any dental procedure, even a regular cleaning, to prevent complications. Once the appropriate time has elapsed, kidney transplant patients can revisit their dental care plan on advice of their physician and dentist. In most cases, the regular two check-ups a year may be increased to a dental health appointment once every two to three months.
Princeview Dental’s Periodontal Services at Etobicoke
For any oral health concerns see the professionals of Princeview Dental Group. Over the past 30 years, we have been providing regular and emergency dental care for clients across Etobicoke and Toronto.
At Princeview, each patient is provided with an individual dental care plan. All of our team members are fully certified and constantly learning the most advanced techniques of dental care.
Stop by today or call our office to discuss how our friendly team can help you take control of your dental health!