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Organ Transplantation and Oral Health

How Does Organ Transplantation Affect Oral Health?

Organ transplant patients are at increased risk for serious oral health problems. A weakened medical condition and the side effects of transplant medications can lead to: infections; dry mouth; ulcers; gum overgrowth; and other oral complications that can also affect overall health.


Dental management of transplant patients is challenging but vital to help prevent systemic infection and treat the troublesome side effects of medications that suppress the immune system. Problems such as excessive bleeding, co-existing disorders like diabetes and hypertension, and the complexities of treating a seriously ill patient must be factored into any dental treatment plan. Regular communication between the dentist and the patient’s transplant team is essential.

It is also important for patients to understand how organ transplantation can affect the mouth and the vital role they play in keeping the mouth healthy.

Conscientious daily oral hygiene at home, combined with regular visits to the dentist, can help prevent or minimize oral health problems.

Health Information

For health professionals

For patients

  • Organ Transplantation and Your Mouth
    Discusses how transplantation and anti-rejection medications affect oral health and describes steps to take before and after organ transplantation to keep the mouth healthy.
  • MedlinePlus:  Organ Transplantation and Oral Health
    The NIH National Library of Medicine's compilation of links to government, professional and non-profit/voluntary organizations with information on organ transplantation and oral health. 


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This page last updated: July 01, 2014