closeup of teeth and gum disease in a patients mouthGum disease isn’t just about the health of your mouth. Instead, your mouth is the gateway to your body, and disease in your mouth can contribute significantly to many other conditions, as we continue to discover. One of the most recent connections we are discovering is the link between gum disease and kidney disease. According to recently presented research, gum disease may quadruple a person’s risk of chronic kidney disease.

Risk Independent of Diabetes

These results represent the first stage in a larger study intended to demonstrate that treating gum disease can actually prevent or help treat kidney disease. Data collected from 699 African American adults who had a comprehensive dental exam and kidney disease tests. People with severe gum disease had a 4.2 times greater risk of having chronic kidney disease.

Importantly, even after researchers corrected for diabetes, which has a reciprocal relationship with gum disease and is a common cause of kidney failure. They also accommodated for high blood pressure, smoking, and income.

Helping Poorer Communities

The study specifically focused on African American adults because researchers know that these individuals often don’t receive the same quality of care that others might, and, as a result, often have worse outcomes from chronic kidney disease. The thought is that this is the population that might benefit most from developing an alternative to traditional treatment for kidney disease.

Preventive dentistry and gum disease treatment are a lot more accessible for these individuals than the type of care necessary for chronic kidney disease.

Studying Treatment Potential

The results presented here were simply intended to show that this is a good population for studying this potential connection. Now that the study population has been identified, researchers will attempt to demonstrate that gum disease treatment has a direct impact on kidney function. To do this, two-thirds of the study population will get treatment for their gum disease. The other third will only get emergency dental care as necessary. Then the changes in kidney function between the two groups will be compared.

If you want to protect your gum health (and your overall health), please call (610) 272-0828  for an appointment with a Blue Bell dentist at Dental Excellence of Blue Bell.