Gum disease associated with kidney disease deaths

By Staff Writer • Published: May 17th, 2016
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

The mouth is the doorway to the body, so oral health has a significant effect on the rest of the body. Now, there’s yet another reason to have a clean mouth. A study by researchers at the University of Birmingham in England found that people with chronic kidney disease and severe gum disease have a higher risk of death than kidney disease patients with healthy gums. The findings appeared recently in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology.

The study sampled patients from a national health survey and found that 6 percent of the participants had chronic kidney disease. After tracking them for 10 years, researchers found that 41 percent of those with the chronic kidney disease and periodontitis had died, while the death rate for those without gum disease was 32 percent.

The mortality for kidney patients with gum disease was comparable to the effect of diabetes, researchers found. The 10-year mortality in participants with chronic kidney disease without periodontitis rose from 32 percent in non-diabetics to 43 percent in people with diabetes.

Periodontitis is a serious, chronic gum infection that damages the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. It is the sixth most common disease and affects about 11 percent of the world’s population. In the United States, 47.2 percent of adults over age 30 have some form of gum disease, and the rate increases with age.

Researchers are now looking more closely at gum disease and kidney disease to learn more about how they are related. In the meantime, follow your dentist’s advice: brush your pearly whites and floss your teeth twice daily.