Objective: This prospective follow-up cohort study analyzed chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients' oral symptoms, health habits, and oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL), from predialysis to posttransplantation. A simplified questionnaire method (Oral Health Quality Score, OHQS), based on these and clinical findings, was constructed and tested for identifying patients in need for referral to a dentist.
Material and methods: Fifty-three CKD patients were followed up for a mean of 10.3 years. Clinical oral, radiological, and salivary examination was performed at baseline and posttransplantation. Total Dental Index (TDI) indicating inflammation was calculated. The patients filled out a questionnaire on symptoms, oral hygiene and health care habits, smoking, alcohol use, and medication. General health-related quality of life was assessed with the 15-dimensional (15D) instrument at posttransplantation. Descriptive and analytical methods were used in statistics.
Results: OHQS significantly correlated with high TDI (p = 0.017), number of teeth (p = 0.031), and unstimulated salivary flow rate (p = 0.001) in transplanted patients. Number of daily medications showed a negative correlation with the OHQS (r = - 0.30; p = 0.028). The prevalence of oral symptoms was slightly, but not significantly, more common posttransplantation compared with predialysis stage.
Conclusion: OHQS identified patients with high oral inflammatory score thus confirming our study hypothesis.
Clinical relevance: Use of OHQS and measuring salivary flow indicate patients at risk for oral diseases. These markers might be easy to use chair-side also by auxiliary personnel.
Keywords: Burning mouth sensation; Kidney diseases; Oral health; Organ transplants; Self-care; Xerostomia.