Dental Health and Arthritis
Arthritis is a chronic inflammatory condition that can wreak havoc on the bones and cartilage of your joints. Genetics, age, and sex have all been associated with rheumatoid arthritis, but a recent study has also linked gum disease with the condition. According to the study, which was performed by the University of Louisville School of Dentistry and published in “PLOS Pathogens,” those with rheumatoid arthritis are twice as likely to have gum disease than others.
Researchers believe the link may be due to a specific bacterium, Porphyromonas gingivalis, which produces an enzyme known as PAD. The PAD alters proteins, and the body launches an immune attack when confronted with these changed proteins. This leads to chronic inflammation and bone and cartilage damage. Additionally, P. gingivalis can worsen rheumatoid arthritis by hastening the onset, speeding the progression, and increasing the severity of the disease and by breaking down bone and cartilage even faster than usual.
More research is needed to fully understand the link between the two conditions, but the researchers in this study hope that their findings lead to new treatments and preventative strategies for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. If you have rheumatoid arthritis or a family history of the condition, keeping your gums healthy may help give you an edge. Good dental hygiene is one of the best ways to protect your gums. Regular checkups with our dentist in Northridge are essential and can catch the earliest symptoms of gum disease. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule an appointment.