October 11, 2022

The Connection Between Oral Health and Kidney Disease

Practicing good dental hygiene is essential for those with chronic kidney disease. Chronic bacterial infections like oral cavities and gum disease can cause continuous inflammation which is especially harmful to people with kidney disease. When left untreated, oral cavities may spread bacteria and inflammation to other parts of the body, potentially causing a serious infection and hospitalization.

Individuals with chronic kidney disease often deal with dry mouth as a result of their medications. Overtime, this can result in tooth decay due to reduced saliva production. The production of healthy saliva reduces cavities and prevents bacteria from accumulating in the gums. Fluoride mouthwashes, saliva substitutes, and water sprays can increase saliva production without exceeding total fluid intake.

Maintaining your oral health affects your overall health, including your kidney health! Remember, if you have chronic kidney disease, are on dialysis, have had a kidney transplant or in the screening process, it is important that you tell your dentist.



Watch for the signs of gum disease:

  • Pain or bleeding around the teeth and gums during or after brushing
  • Swelling or tenderness in the gums
  • Bad breath even after brushing
  • New or worsening toothaches

Tips for preventing oral health issues:

  • Brush your teeth two times a day, for 2 minutes each time.
  • Floss to clean between teeth at least once a day.
  • Use products that contain fluoride, such as toothpaste and mouthwash.
  • Schedule a dentist appointment for a cleaning and dental exam every six months.
  • Limit your intake of caffeine and sugary beverages
  • Be aware of new sensitivities to certain foods or temperatures


Tips when getting dental treatment:

  • Always make sure to be honest and thorough when filling out dental medical forms.
  • It’s best to address dental issues as soon as possible, since most dental problems only get worse with time.
  • Consult with your doctor if premedication is required before treatment in order to decrease the risk of infection.
  • Patients on dialysis should schedule dental procedures for a non-treatment day.
  • While blood pressure should be monitored during dental treatment, make sure that a blood-pressure cuff is not being used on the dialysis-access arm, as this could lead to a blockage or infection.
  • Always consult your nephrologist before doing invasive dental treatments.

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