Gum Disease Linked to Kidney Health

Powell dental office

At our Powell dental office, Dr. Williams continues to educate patients on what links our oral health to our overall health.

While the health of our teeth and gums may seem far removed from our heart, cognitive and kidney health, research has repeatedly found that individuals dealing with tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss have a significantly higher risk for developing health conditions like heart disease, dementia, and cancer when compared to those with healthy gums.

Now, two more studies have linked kidney health to gum disease. The studies, conducted by researchers at the Eastman Dental Institute in London, found a significant connection between the signs of poor oral health and chronic kidney disease.

In one of the studies, gum inflammation was linked to a decrease in kidney function, while the other showed that patients with advanced cases of gum disease were more likely to have worse kidney function in the future. This research continues to reinforce what Dr. Williams tells patients at our Powell dental office – your oral health matters.

Gum Inflammation Linked to Systemic Inflammation

In the U.S., millions of patients suffer from chronic kidney disease, a condition that ranks as the ninth leading cause of death in the country. Earlier research has found connections between heart disease and chronic kidney disease through oxidative stress and systemic inflammation.

Gum disease occurs when oral bacteria causes gum tissue to become inflamed. Since both gum disease and heart disease lead to the development of inflammation, the research team from Eastman Dental wanted to determine whether kidney disease could also be linked to gum disease.

In their study, researchers recruited 770 patients with stage 3 to 5 pre-dialysis chronic kidney disease. Researchers measured the gum inflammation of the participants using the periodontal inflamed surface area (PISA) score, a method used for determining the severity of a patients gum disease. Researchers also used estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), a test that measures a patient’s kidney function.

Researchers discovered that a 10 percent increase in PISA score lead to a 2.5 percent decrease in eGFR, results that indicated that gum inflammation indirectly impacts kidney health.

The team believes that gum disease might impact kidney healthy by influencing certain “factors” in the blood. Factors such as oxidative stress – stress that occurs on a cellular level – can negatively impact kidney function.

Based on their data, researchers are calling for more study and the further examination of any potential connection between the two diseases.

Gum and Kidney Health

In the second study, another U.K. research team examined how dental and gum health metrics related to eGFR using data collected from nearly 200 participants with stage 3 to 5 kidney disease.

At the beginning of the study, each participant underwent a comprehensive dental examination that assessed patients for a variety of oral health factors, including bleeding score, plaque index, and the number of decayed, missing, or filled teeth. The study then monitored the eGFR scores for participants over a 5-year period.

Researchers discovered that patients with chronic kidney disease needed substantial oral health improvements and that 89 percent had either moderate to severe periodontitis, an advanced form of gum disease and leading cause of permanent tooth loss in adults.

Additionally, eGFR scores were significantly associated with poor gum health metrics. Patients who were shown to have poor oral health at the outset of the study were far more likely to develop decreased kidney function in the future.

At Our Powell Dental Office, Your Oral Health Matters

While researchers continue to look for an explanation on what connects our gum and kidney health, Dr. Williams wants to once again reaffirm just how much our oral health matters.

By practicing quality oral hygiene at home by brushing twice a day and flossing daily, you can lower your risk for kidney disease, heart disease, dementia, and a variety of other health risks. Why put your overall health at risk by ignoring your oral health?

Contact our office today to schedule your next dental exam and cleaning with Dr. Williams and our team at Frontier Dental. And give yourself something to smile about.