Studies show kidney disease and oral health link

Preliminary research being carried out by University of California’s San Francisco’s School of Medicine suggests a link between gum infections and kidney disease.

Previous medical research has already reported a correlation between cardiovascular disease and periodontal disease. Now studies have shown that kidneys, like other major organs, are at a similar risk to be affected by periodontal disease through bacteria in the blood stream.

Vanessa Grubbs, assistant professor and pulmonary specialist at UCSF School of Medicine, is determined to develop this research as part of her commitment to preventing the chronic health problems associated with kidney disease.

 ‘If we at least start to show that treating periodontal disease can slow the progression of kidney disease, the long-term ramifications for dental policy and how we manage patients with chronic kidney disease are huge.’

Grubbs noted that kidney disease and periodontal disease affect a large number of poorer populations. Providing funding for customary dental care could take precedence over preventing kidney disease, saving a significant amount of money. Grubbs said: ‘It’s certainly cheaper to pay for preventative dental care than dialysis.’

Along with professors George Taylor, DMD, and Mark Ryder, DMD from the UCSF School of Dentistry, Grubbs is commencing an investigation to track the progression of kidney disease in patients receiving treatment for periodontal disease.

To learn more, visit the UCSF news centre, at

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