If you have kidney disease, then you probably know that you need to follow a strict diet and undergo dialysis treatments in order to stay healthy. Keeping your kidneys healthy is likely your main concern, but you may not know that kidney disease can affect parts of your body that are not linked to your excretory system. In fact, many people who have kidney disease have poor oral health. This means that you need to work hard to make sure that your teeth, gums, and jaw stay in great shape. You should visit a dentist every six months, and you also should do the following things listed below.
Be Aware of Bone Loss
If you have kidney disease, then your body may not absorb as much calcium as it needs to keep your bones strong. This occurs, because the kidneys transform vitamin D into a chemical that helps the bones absorb calcium to replace minerals that are lost. When your kidneys do not work properly, then they are unable to convert vitamin D properly and your body does not incorporate calcium into the bones like it should. When this happens, the jaw bone will lose some of its density.
Jaw bone loss can cause tooth loss over time. When bone tissue is not available to cover the dental roots, then bacteria can work their way underneath the gum tissues. The unprotected tooth roots then start to degrade and deep cavities force their way into the teeth. This can cause an infection as well as a complete degradation of the dentin and pulp that makes up the root.
Increase Calcium Intake
To help keep your jaw healthy, make sure to consume enough calcium so that some of the minerals make it into the bones. You do need to watch your diet carefully though, and your doctor will tell you that you cannot eat a lot of phosphorous. Unfortunately, many foods that are high in calcium also contain phosphorous. These foods include broccoli, beans, kale, spinach, seeds, and grains. Avoid these foods and consume soy milk, almond milk, and cottage cheese instead.
Consider a Supplement
If you find that you cannot fit enough high calcium and low phosphorous foods into your diet, then consider taking a supplement. Supplements that contain both vitamin D and calcium are best to make sure that your body can properly absorb the calcium.
Talk to your doctor or dentist at a place like Accent Dental to see which type of supplement is best. In most cases, a supplement that contains calcium carbonate will be suggested, because it contains more calcium than other products. Your medications may interfere with your body's ability to absorb this type of supplement though, so a calcium citrate variety may be suggested instead
Watch for Gum Infections
If you have kidney disease, then you are far more likely than a healthy individual to form gum disease. Kidney disease affects the way your immune system functions. This means that your body is unable to fight off diseases like it should, and the gums often become inflamed and infected by the bacteria that thrive in the mouth. Your cardiovascular system may not work properly either, and the gums do not receive vital nutrients that are required for good health. The unhealthy tissues are then more susceptible to bacterial activity.
Invest in a Good Mouth Rinse
The best way to control bacterial activity in the mouth is to remove the food that allows the bacteria to live and multiply. This means that you need to brush and floss regularly to get rid of plaque that sits on the teeth and gums. Brushing alone will not keep you from forming gum disease though, if you have kidney disease. A rinse can help when it is combined with other oral hygiene methods.
Purchase a mouthwash from your local pharmacy. Look for a product that says it is antibacterial and not antiseptic. Antibacterial mouthwashes kill the bacteria that live in the mouth, while antiseptic products reduce the formation of new bacteria. Antiseptic products also contain a great deal of alcohol. This can dry out your mouth and increase your risk of forming gum disease.
Ask About Prescription Options
If your mouthwash does not work to prevent or control gum disease, then consider asking your dentist about a prescription option. Prescription rinses contain powerful antibacterial ingredients. These rinses can stain the teeth though, so your dentist will likely ask you to use the rinse for only a short period of time. In some cases, antibiotics can be prescribed as well.
If you have kidney disease, then you should know that your oral health may deteriorate over time. You can work with your dentist and use the information above to keep your teeth, gums, and jaw healthy.