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Gum Disease Linked To Increased Mortality Risk From Chronic Kidney Disease

First Posted: Feb 22, 2016 07:37 AM EST
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Gum disease may increase the risk of kidney disease, according to a recent study.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham found that periodontitis can result in systemic inflammation that can lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the future. 

"It's important to note that oral health isn't just about teeth," Iain Chapple, a professor at the University of Birmingham, said in a news release. "The mouth is the doorway to the body, rather than a separate organ, and is the access point for bacteria to enter the bloodstream via the gums. A lot of people with gum disease aren't aware of it, perhaps they just have blood in their spit after brushing teeth, but this unchecked damage to gums then becomes a high risk area for the rest of the body."

Researchers analyzed dental and medical records for close to 14,000 participants in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, focusing on close to 1,000 people with chronic kidney disease.

At a median follow-up of about 14.3 years, they found the 10-year mortality rate for those with CKD was about 32 percent; however, for those with periodontitis, the rate increases to 41 percent. 

The study is published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology.

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