Are Gum Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis Related?

We take pride in educating our patients on oral hygiene and the importance of maintaining good habits. Oral hygiene has far reaching impacts that go beyond just a healthy smile. There are many links between poor oral hygiene and other diseases and conditions. We want our patients to be educated on these links so that they can understand the importance of regular upkeep on their teeth and the importance of seeing a dentist regularly.

One topic that is of interest is possible links between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis.If you have a family history of either of these problems, this might be of particular interest to you. There is research that suggests a link between these two things.

What the research suggests…

University of Louisville’s School of Dentistry in Kentucky conducted a study and found that bacterium that causes gum disease seems to also be present in the early onset stages of rheumatoid arthritis. According to their study, they think that the connection could possibly cause rheumatoid arthritis to progress more quickly and even become more severe in nature. Rheumatoid arthritis can be a very debilitating and painful disease, so learning about links like these are helpful to figure out how to aide people with this form of arthritis.

More about the disease and the process…

According to the research, it seems that the bacteria from the gum disease causes a reaction that between some proteins. This makes the body respond to this reaction as if it was an intruder and prompts an immune attack. This attack causes inflammation. If this inflammation becomes chronic, it can destroy cartilage. Dr. Jan Potempa from the study notes that further research will need to be conducted to understand the link more fully.

What does all of this mean?

To reduce chances of this link becoming a factor, regular brushing and flossing as well as seeing your dentist for checkups regularly is important. Maintaining regular, good oral hygiene habits could reduce the likelihood of rheumatoid arthritis as this study suggests.

Dental Partner of Boston is committed to giving the best gum disease treatment in Boston. We are here to help you prevent and treat gum disease and also answer any questions you might have about gum and periodontal disease. Contact us to learn more or to schedule an appointment.

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