New study links kidney function to tooth loss

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Kidney function is associated with tooth loss in postmenopausal women

A recent study has highlighted a notable link between chronic kidney disease and tooth loss in postmenopausal women, particularly those aged 66–79 years. (Image: girl-think-position/Shutterstock)

Tue. 25 June 2024


CLEVELAND, US: The menopause is marked by alterations in reproductive hormone levels, and this can have adverse effects on bone health. Since chronic kidney disease (CKD) and tooth loss are both prevalent and significant health concerns in postmenopausal women, a recent study—the first of its kind—aimed to investigate the relationship between the two. It reported that CKD is significantly linked with tooth loss in postmenopausal women, especially in those aged between 66 and 79.

Among their many functions, kidneys help filter waste products from the blood and activate vitamin D. Reduced function can lead to several serious and potentially life-threatening medical conditions related to bone and cardiovascular health. Kidney function decreases over time after the menopause and is linked with a reduction in reproductive hormone levels. These declining hormone levels may lead to abdominal obesity, which is an independent risk factor for the development of CKD and also associated with a higher risk of tooth loss.

Although previous studies have already identified an association between kidney function and number of teeth, the present study is the first to evaluate the association between CKD and tooth loss in postmenopausal women. It included 64,971 participants aged 40–79 who participated in the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2010 to 2018. All participants were divided into two groups: those with fewer than 20 teeth and those with 20 or more teeth.

After analysing the results, the researchers noted a significant link between the glomerular filtration rate, which measures kidney function, and the presence of at least 20 teeth. Specifically, they reported that postmenopausal women with CKD, especially those aged between 66 and 79, are approximately 40% more likely to have fewer than 20 teeth, pointing to a great need to effectively prevent and manage mineral and bone metabolism disorders in postmenopausal women with CKD to prevent tooth loss.

“This study highlights the known link between [CKD] and bone metabolism. Increased attention to oral and bone health is warranted in postmenopausal women with [CKD], in addition to meticulous efforts aimed at preserving kidney function. Conversely, oral health is a window to overall health, and good oral hygiene is important for women of all ages,” said Dr Stephanie Faubion, medical director for the Menopause Society, in a press release.

The study, titled “Chronic kidney disease in postmenopausal women is associated with tooth loss”, was published online on 11 June 2024 in Menopause, ahead of inclusion in an issue.

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