March is National Kidney month, a great time to teach kids more about what the kidneys do and how tooth decay and gum disease affect people with kidney disease. Understanding how our oral health is connected to our total body health can help pave the way for better oral care during your child’s younger years and throughout their lives. If you or your child suffer from kidney disease, learn how caring for your oral health is essential.
Call Dr. Botero at Li’l Sunshine Smiles dentistry in Tampa today (813-576-0200) to schedule a consultation on how to prevent oral health issues if you or a loved one suffers from kidney disease. Involving us in your medical treatment plans can help you find more success with your healthcare.
Kidney disease in children is not very common but it occurs. Usually these cases are a result of the kidneys not developing properly in utero or as a result of a genetic condition. If you or your child suffer from kidney disease learning about the connection between oral health and kidney disease is important for safeguarding your current and future health.
The kidneys play a vital function in the body. They are the body’s filtering system. They control water levels and get rid of wastes when we use the bathroom (pee). The kidneys also regulate pH, salt, and potassium levels in your body. They make hormones that regulate blood pressure and control the production of red blood cells. They also activate a form of vitamin D that supports the absorbtion of calcium.
Kidney disease affects about 26 million American adults. It results from damage to your kidneys that don’t allow them to function as they should. This damage is typically related to diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic conditions.
Kidney disease can trigger other health problems, like weak bones, nerve damage, and malnutrition.
If the disease progresses, the kidneys may stop working completely requiring dialysis. Dialysis is a treatment that filters and purifies the blood using a machine. It can’t cure kidney disease, but it can prolong your life.
Treating chronic kidney disease involves slowing the progression of the kidney damage by treating the underlying cause. Chronic kidney disease can lead to end-stage kidney failure, which is fatal without dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Practicing good oral health habits helps combat some of the challenges kidney disease creates. Weakened immune systems are at risk for complications from oral infections. Kidney disease weakens your immune system making you more at risk. (Kidney transplant patients are also at risk because medications that help to prevent rejection of a kidney weaken the immune system making you more susceptible to problems.)
Oral infections not only trigger inflammation, but the bacteria can also travel to other parts of your body putting you at risk of further complications. Also, since kidney disease affects the strength of your bones, teeth (which are affixed to bones in your jaw) can suffer.
Kidney disease is also associated with periodontal disease, inflammation of the salivary glands, and chronic bad breath (because diseased kidneys can’t remove urea from the blood, and it breaks down to form ammonia, which creates an unpleasant smell.) Committing to excellent oral care at home and regular dental visits makes all the difference.
If you have kidney disease, and are on dialysis, schedule dental visits for days that immediately follow a dialysis treatment day. Also, make sure you let Dr. Botero know all your medications. If you are due for dental treatment we will often prescribe an antibiotic before treatment since kidney disease makes you at more risk for infections.
Dedicating some time each day to take care of your oral health will support your wellness goals with kidney disease. Make sure you:
Call Li’l Sunshine Smiles Dentistry today at 813-576-0200 to schedule an exam and cleaning for you or your child. We are excited to help you with your oral care journey and welcome you to our dental family!