Oral Disease Found to be Common among Dialysis Patients

Patients suffering from chronic kidney disease progressively fall into a debilitating and crippling state of living. These patients progressively lose muscle strength and consciousness, leaving them incapable of movement and confined to a wheel chair. As a result, their everyday hygiene needs to be managed by nurses or family whose efforts are often limited by additional responsibilities. This leaves the ill patient pending with areas of the body that remain unclean and untreated. As a result, oral health becomes compromised and disease builds, leading to conditions such as periodontitis and tooth decay. This creates a link between patients suffering from chronic kidney failure and poor dental management.

The dental management of oral disease during long term treatment of chronic illness is critical for maintaining a suitable quality of life. Up until now, there hasn’t been a comprehensive study that reviews the burden of oral disease and preventative strategies for patients undergoing dialysis. That’s why a multinational effort was conducted to evaluate how common and how severe oral disease becomes in patients suffering from chronic kidney disease.

The study, known as the ORAL disease in hemodialysis (ORALD), sought to assess oral disease in patients undergoing hemodialysis. It was a multinational effort that involved qualified participants throughout Europe, including Spain, Hungary, Poland, France, Portugal and Italy. Reports were also collected from patients in Argentina. The reason for the multinational setting was to see how national data compared to the data obtained from the study. Factors such as socioeconomic status, diet, tobacco consumption, diabetes are known to be associated with edentulous patients.

The results of the study provided a clear indication of the importance of oral health management during hemodialysis treatment. A total of 4,205 hemodialysis patients participated in the study. Out of those participants, an astonishing amount (95%) presented decayed teeth, missing or filled teeth, and varying levels of periodontitis. The results varied from country to country, with participants from Spain, Poland, Italy and Hungary reporting the highest amount of edentulous cases. Participants from Argentina Hungary, Spain and Poland presented more cases of tooth decay. Periodontitis was most common among the participants from Argentina.

The study concluded that oral disease is a common occurrence in patients undergoing hemodialysis. The cases analyzed demonstrated that oral diseases was often severe and highly variable between different nations of the world. Due to these findings, alternative strategies need to be implemented at a national or country level when managing hemodialysis. A combined government effort between health departments and public hospitals could provide training for patients, families and nurses involved in caring for dental health among dialysis patients.

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