Your Bright, Beautiful Smile

By Cher Thomas, RDH

One of your most attractive features is a bright, beautiful smile. Living with chronic kidney disease (CKD) can create some challenges for beautiful teeth, but here are some tips that you may find beneficial. 

A healthy mouth is a beautiful mouth! Regular dental care is really important for those of us living with CKD. Seeking routine dental care with a dental professional and maintaining good oral hygiene at home are equally important.

You should always ask your medical provider about special precautions that may or may not need to be addressed prior to any professional dental procedure.

Those with CKD may incur a dry mouth for various reasons. Fluid restrictions, certain medications, and CKD itself can make it more difficult to remove plaque and tartar. This makes it easy for your teeth to pick up stains. Certain medications can cause your gums to swell and bleed easily. Furthermore, CKD can make your mouth smell bad and look bad.

Dry Mouth
If you have a dry mouth, there are over-the-counter products available to help. The main ingredient in dental products you should avoid is alcohol. It can dry your mouth out even more and can make it even more difficult to remove stain, plaque, and tartar. Just because you’re on a fluid restriction doesn’t mean you can’t rinse with water and spit it out in the sink. Brushing your teeth at least twice a
day will help keep the stain, plaque, and tartar away!

Certain medications may cause your gums to overgrow and bleed easily. This can be both unsightly and painful. Again, a little extra time with the toothbrush can minimize this problem.

Bad Breath
Lastly, CKD can leave you with a mouth that smells and tastes bad. Good oral hygiene AND attending dialysis treatments as prescribed are really important to minimize these complications.

Products that are available over the counter that may help whiten your smile include (but are not limited to), Crest 3D whitening toothpaste and Crest 3D whitening strips. Avoiding alcohol in any dental product will minimize a dry mouth, and can help moisturize it. You may want to sample some oral moisturizers available over the counter such as Biotene, Crest Pro-Health Rinse, and others.   

Some bonus tips: Wearing a darker shade of lipstick than your natural lip tone will automatically make your teeth appear whiter. Chewing sugar-free gum, like Orbitz or Dentyne, can help moisturize your mouth and make your breath fresher all at the same time! Be sure to get sugar-free, whether you have diabetes or not—chewing sugar over long periods of time is notorious for causing dental cavities.

When you implement these tips, you can smile with confidence and know your teeth are healthy too!


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Cher-ThomasCher Thomas, RDH, is a registered dental hygienist and a renal transplant recipient. After her kidneys failed due to ANCA positive vasculitis, in 1999 her brother became her kidney donor. Cher utilizes her experience with peritoneal dialysis and organ transplantation to explore the relationship between oral and renal health. She lives in Galveston, Texas.