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Is There A Link Between Rheumatoid Arthritis And Your Oral Health?

As crazy as this seems, a report in 2009 stated if you have gum disease your risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is present. The risk is listed as casual, but keep brushing and flossing! Taking care of your teeth may help take care of your joints. Remember, tooth loss is an indication of gum disease as learned in research studies, and may indicate joint pain such as RA in your future.


The study indicated individuals with moderate to severe gum disease are three times more likely to get the disease, in comparison to a patient with mild or no periodontitis issues. Furthermore, periodontitis patients carry higher blood level antibodies associated with RA than people with healthy gums. Research indicated that in those who never smoked and have moderate/severe gum disease, the risk was nine times greater. Studies have also indicated both RA and gum disease possess the similar destructive mechanism of connective tissues.


The cells found in the tissues of the joints and the mouth of a patient with periodontitis is made of similar tissues. Early observations noted patients suffering from RA and gum disease were generally plagued with the same issues. The effect has not been proven but doctors have theories. RA causes stiffness and pain in your hands, making oral hygiene more difficult. Also, medications used to treat RA may suppress the immune system, creating harmful mouth bacteria. This leaves the protective saliva vulnerable to disease.


Many RA patients have questioned whether their children will be plagued with the gum disease. Simply stated, if the risk is present in your family history, you need to floss and brush effectively to reduce your risk.


Sources have indicated a reasonable connection through biological connection of the two disease processes. Extra attention is essential for dental patients suffering from RA, including referrals for gum disease (periodontal) evaluation and treatment.

Patients with RA must maintain good dental hygiene, including eating healthy, regular dental exams and a regular/strict brushing and flossing. For those suffering with painful or still hands or jaws, you may have difficulties caring for your teeth. Inquire with your dentist or occupational therapist about devices you may use to aid in the process. You must also work with a physician to maintain arthritis pain. Working with both issues may save your joints and your teeth. The most important thing to take away from this information is that your entire body is connected and what you do or do not do for your teeth can impact the rest of your health. Contact a dentist, like Smile Oxford Valley Dental Associates, for more information.