Gum disease — also referred to as periodontal disease — and the loss of teeth are nontraditional risk factors that are independently associated with chronic kidney disease, according to the results of a new study.
"Chronic kidney disease is a public health problem that is undiagnosed in a significant number of those affected in the United States," Dr. Monica A. Fisher, of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, and colleagues write in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases. Recent reports of nontraditional risk factors, such as periodontal disease, lack of education and poor health care utilization, have been linked with chronic kidney disease.
Fisher and her associates used data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to identify 12,947 adults who had information on kidney function and at least one risk factor. In addition to periodontal status, the investigators looked at other traditional and nontraditional risk factors.
The prevalence of chronic kidney disease was 3.6 percent. Overall, 6.0 percent of the population had periodontal disease, 10.5 percent had missing teeth, 23.5 percent had hypertension, and 36.4 percent were obese.
The researchers found that subjects with periodontal disease and those with missing teeth were nearly twice as likely to have chronic kidney disease (60 percent and 85 percent, respectively) compared with those without these risk factors.
As more studies examine the role of periodontal disease in chronic kidney disease, data will accumulate to support or refute the inclusion of periodontal therapy to reduce the growing number of those with kidney disease, Fisher and colleagues conclude.
More research is needed to better understand this association and if this information can be used to help decrease the incidence, progression, and complications of chronic kidney disease.
SOURCE: American Journal of Kidney Diseases, January 2008.