New research presented at the American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week suggests that African Americans with gum disease may be at a significantly higher risk for kidney disease.
The research, which was headed by UCSF School of Medicine Assistant Professor Dr. Vanessa Grubbs, concluded that African Americans with severe periodontal disease have four times the risk of developing chronic kidney disease than those with healthy mouths—after adjusting for factors such as age, sex, diabetes status, smoking status, and income level.
This is not the first time the two conditions have been linked. Several recent studies suggest a bi-directional link between oral health and chronic kidney disease, especially among Mexican-Americans and African Americans. The research suggests that chronic kidney disease leads to problems like dry mouth that contribute to periodontal disease, and periodontal disease increases the systemic inflammatory burden on chronic kidney disease.
Earlier research by Dr. Grubbs demonstrated that patients with chronic kidney disease generally make fewer visits to the dentist, underlining a major opportunity for improvement in care.
“Because periodontal disease is common and can be prevented and treated, targeting it may be an important path towards reducing existing racial and ethnic disparities in chronic and end-stage kidney disease,” said Dr. Grubbs.