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Kidney Disease Affects Oral Health
April 30, 2014

By Nancy Volkers
InteliHealth News Service

INTELIHEALTH - People with kidney disease have less tooth decay but more gum disease, compared with people who do not have kidney disease.

Researchers from Australia compared 74 people with chronic kidney disease to 150 healthy people. Compared with the healthy group, people with kidney disease had less tooth decay, but more signs of gum disease.

The more serious a person’s kidney disease was, the more serious signs they showed of gum disease.

Also, kidney-disease patients were more likely to have spaces, or pockets, between their teeth and gums. These are called periodontal pockets. Of the people with kidney disease, 70% had these pockets, compared with 19% of healthy people. Of those with stage 5 kidney disease – the most serious type – 79% had periodontal pockets.

Because people with kidney disease have weakened immune systems, they may be at greater risk of gum disease. Gum disease is a bacterial infection. Tooth decay also is a bacterial infection, but other studies have suggested that people with kidney disease have lower rates of tooth decay.

The study confirms an association between chronic kidney problems and gum health. A 2013 review of published research found that people with kidney disease are more likely to have gum disease.

The study appears in the May issue of the journal Special Care in Dentistry.

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