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Study suggests link between toothlessness and chronic kidney disease

Adults who have no teeth may be more likely to suffer from chronic kidney disease than their counterparts who still have teeth, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Periodontology.

The study, conducted at Case Western Reserve University, examined kidney function and periodontal health indicators in 4,053 U.S. adults aged 40 years or older. After adjusting for risks factors for chronic kidney disease such as age, ethnicity and tobacco use, the study showed that participants who had lost all of their teeth were more likely to have chronic kidney disease than patients who had maintained their natural dentition.

One out of nine Americans suffers from chronic kidney disease, according to the National Kidney Foundation. The disease can affect blood pressure and bone health and can eventually lead to heart disease or kidney failure.

According to the Case study, the destructive nature of chronic inflammation may play a role in the higher prevalence of chronic kidney disease among toothless patients. Periodontal disease, which can often cause the loss of teeth if not treated, is an inflammatory condition and previous research has suggested that inflammation may be the common link between periodontal and kidney diseases.

"The rationale for examining edentulous (toothless) adults in this study is to observe the long-term effects of periodontal disease on the presence of chronic kidney disease," said study author Dr. Monica Fisher. "Periodontal disease is a leading cause of tooth loss in adults; therefore, endentulism is considered to be a marker of past periodontal disease in the study's participants."

The authors of the study note that additional research is needed to fully understand why tooth loss is associated with a higher prevalence of chronic kidney disease.

©2010 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

10/20/2008

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