Gum Disease Linked to Kidney Problems

Another discovery has reinforced the connection between general and oral health - this time linking periodontal disease to kidney problems.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studied more than 5,500 participants, middle-aged Caucasian and African American men and women. A total of 2,276 participants had periodontal disease - and 947 of those had severe periodontal disease.

The participants with periodontal disease were much more likely to have renal insufficiency - a chronic condition that results in slowly progressing reduction in kidney function that can lead to renal failure. Acute renal failure is potentially life-threatening and may require intensive treatment.

Researchers looked at the renal-periodontal link because patients with renal insufficiency have many of the same risk factors as patients with heart disease - which many studies have already linked to periodontal disease. They hope to see more studies on renal function and periodontal disease to help determine the nature of the relationship between the conditions.

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