Oral health of aboriginal people with kidney disease living in Central Australia

Kostas Kapellas, Jaquelyne T. Hughes, Alan Cass, Louise J. Maple-Brown, Michael R. Skilton, David Harris, Lisa M. Askie, Wendy Hoy, Basant Pawar, Kirsty McKenzie, Cherian T. Sajiv, Peter Arrow, Alex Brown, Lisa M. Jamieson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Associations between kidney disease and periodontal disease are not well documented among Aboriginal people of Australia. The purpose of this investigation was to report and compare demographic, oral health, anthropometric and systemic health status of Aboriginal Australians with kidney disease and to compare against relevant Aboriginal Australians and Australian population estimates. This provides much needed evidence to inform dental health service provision policies for Aboriginal Australians with kidney disease. Methods: Sample frequencies and means were assessed in adults represented in six datasets including: (1) 102 Aboriginal Australians with kidney disease residing in Central Australia who participated in a detailed oral health assessment; (2) 312 Aboriginal participants of the Northern Territory’s PerioCardio study; (3) weighted estimates from 4775 participants from Australia’s National Survey of Adult Oral Health (NSAOH); (4) Australian 2016 Census (all Australians); (5) National Health Survey 2017–2018 (all Australians) and; (6) Australian Health Survey: Biomedical Results for Chronic Diseases, 2011–2012 (all Australians). Oral health status was described by periodontal disease and experience of dental caries (tooth decay). Statistically significant differences were determined via non-overlapping 95% confidence intervals. Results: Aboriginal Australians with kidney disease were significantly older, less likely to have a tertiary qualification or be employed compared with both PerioCardio study counterparts and NSAOH participants. Severe periodontitis was found in 54.3% of Aboriginal Australians with kidney disease, almost 20 times the 2.8% reported in NSAOH. A higher proportion of Aboriginal Australians with kidney disease had teeth with untreated caries and fewer dental restorations when compared to NSAOH participants. The extent of periodontal attachment loss and periodontal pocketing among Aboriginal Australians with kidney disease (51.0%, 21.4% respectively) was several magnitudes greater than PerioCardio study (22.0%, 12.3% respectively) and NSAOH (5.4%, 1.3% respectively) estimates. Conclusions: Aboriginal Australians with kidney disease exhibited more indicators of poorer oral health than both the general Australian population and a general Aboriginal population from Australia’s Northern Territory. It is imperative that management of oral health among Aboriginal Australians with kidney disease be included as part of their ongoing medical care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number50
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Oral Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Aboriginal Australian
  • Census
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • End-stage kidney disease
  • Periodontal disease
  • Population survey


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