Scientists have long been seeing the connection between diseases of the mouth and those of the rest of the body. This can be critical for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Why? Well, one of the major risk factors in chronic kidney disease is the development of cardiovascular disease. Kidney disease can lead to imbalances in the body that specifically impact your heart health, like high blood pressure and narrowing arteries. Because of this, problems relating to cardiovascular disease are one of the leading causes of death in patients with chronic kidney disease.
But as we now know, one of the major factors in heart health is also periodontal health. For patients with CKD, taking care of teeth and gums is absolutely essential because it can ward off the secondary problem of cardiovascular disease.
How periodontal disease impacts heart health
Unfortunately, the conditions of periodontal disease provide abundant opportunities for heart harm, in a variety of forms. Here’s the basic breakdown:
- Periodontal disease is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in your mouth; the bacteria release acid that irritates and inflames the tissue in your mouth, particularly your gums. Periodontitis is this inflammation, pain, and bleeding of the gums.
- Inflammation means that your blood vessels are dilated, and this allows bacteria to enter your bloodstream, where they can cause abnormalities in blood, clots, arterial disease, or even pericarditis.
- Stress on the heart means stress on the kidneys, too.
Your kidneys and your gums
In recent studies, scientists have found that as many as 85% of patients with chronic kidney disease also have inflammatory gum problems like periodontitis. Researchers know this, and they want to change it.
Right now, a study is underway to find out if addressing gum disease decreases morbidity in patients with CKD. Researchers at Aston’s School of Health and Life Sciences are working with patients as well as dentists in an effort to gather the data they believe will point health care providers toward gum health as a means of improving the lives of CKD patients.
You can make a difference right now
Whether or not improved periodontal health ends up impacting the secondary health problems associated with CKD, we already know that it can make a huge difference in systemic health. Periodontitis has been linked with Alzheimers and pancreatic cancer in addition to cardiovascular disease, and the list is growing.
So what can patients of Newberg Family Dental do to preserve their healthy smiles? Two things: daily care and regular check ups. Daily care should include brushing twice for two minutes each time (electric toothbrushes usually have this timer build in) and flossing at least once a day.
Then, when you visit us at your dentist in Newberg Oregon, you can expect us to carefully monitor the course of your oral hygiene techniques and general oral health– the better to find any small problems before they become big ones.
Call us today for your next appointment!