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From Mouth to Kidneys: A Surprising Connection

From Mouth to Kidneys: A Surprising Connection

Recently, scientists decided to take a close look at chronic kidney disease to learn more about the other health factors at play– and possibly find some ways to prevent this debilitating, and ultimately fatal, disease.

In chronic kidney disease, patients slowly lose their kidney function over time. We rely on our kidneys to filter and clean our blood– patients with kidney failure eventually rely on dialysis to do this for them, and that isn’t the best solution.

The connection to oral health

So what does this have to do with oral health, you may ask? Well, actually, periodontal disease is a potential risk factor for kidney disease, periodontal disease is something that a large percentage of Americans suffer from.

Periodontal disease is characterized by inflammation, swelling, and even bleeding of the gums. It can be mild– like gingivitis, where redness and swelling can be seen– or, it can be quite severe. Untreated periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss. In general, regular oral hygiene, like brushing and flossing, is enough to prevent periodontal disease, but because there can be other health factors at play, visiting your dentist in McKinney, TX regularly is also imperative!

One can lead to the other

In the study, researchers followed one section of the American population: African Americans whose kidney function was normal. After following up on this population after 4.8 years, scientists found that individuals with periodontal disease were over four times more likely to develop chronic kidney disease.

This remained true despite adjustments for other complicating factors such as gender, age, the presence of other chronic illnesses like diabetes and hypertension, and lifestyle factors like tobacco use or income.

An opportunity for better community health

Researchers observed that African Americans are disproportionately affected by periodontitis as compared to other American populations. By addressing oral health and preventive measures that halt periodontitis, health workers may have an opportunity to stop the even more debilitating disease– kidney failure– before it even starts.

McKinney Smiles supports prevention

At McKinney Smiles, we applaud the efforts of the scientists doing this important work for our community’s health. We also think the results provide another good example of the critical importance of preventive dental care– both for your healthy smile and your healthy body.

With all these busy holidays coming up, don’t forget to schedule your timely dental appointment with Dr. Lawrence! Call or schedule online for your next appointment with your dentist in McKinney, TX!

Photo Credit: Army Medicine via Compfight cc

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