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Dental care for those with kidney disease

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Dental care for those with kidney disease

Jul 21, 2015

brush-your-teeth.jpgIt's important for everybody to brush and floss their teeth.  Good oral hygiene helps your mouth and your overall health.  However, those with kidney disease and/or on dialysis are more susceptible to gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath.  What can you do to keep your teeth and gums healthy?  Here are some tips to help keep your mouth happy.

Your teeth

  • Problem: Patients with kidney disease are susceptible to tooth decay due to their body's inability to absorb calcium properly.  A calcium deficiency can result in weak jaw bones and teeth can fall out. 

  • Solution: Keep your calcium and phosphorus levels in your goal range.  Brush your teeth twice a day to keep them clean and strong. Rinse your mouth out with water after taking liquid medications.

Your gums

  • Problem: Some kidney disease medications, such as diuretics or antidepressants, cause saliva in your mouth to dry up.  Without enough saliva, gums become irritated and inflamed.

  • Solution: Avoid salty or spicy foods, alcohol, and tobacco.  Suck on sugarless candy, chew gum, and use a humidifier at night.

brushing-tongue.jpgYour breath

  • Problem: Because kidneys remove urea from the blood, kidney disease patients may not remove it all from their body.  Urea breaks down to form ammonia, which has an unpleasant smell  Also, a buildup of bacteria in the mouth can cause halitosis, or bad breath.

  • Solution: Brush your tongue with a toothbrush or tongue scraper to remove odor-causing bacteria. 

Your dentist should know you are on dialysis so you can work together as a team to solve any oral hygiene problems.  Get dental checkups twice a year.  And be proud of that smile!

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