Rheumatoid Arthritis More Likely For People With Gum Disease

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the joints. This autoimmune disorder has been linked to oral health – just like a lot of other conditions.

Research has shown that people with gum disease are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis and that people who have RA are  2 times more likely to have gum disease. Researchers now believe that the bacterium responsible for gum disease may open a path for development of rheumatoid arthritis.

An international team of researchers from the European Union’s Gums and Joints project (how awesome is that), along with Dr. Jan Potempa from the University of Louisville, have uncovered how the same bacterium that causes gum disease, P. gingivalis, worsens the onset and progression of RA. It turns out that the bacterium produces an enzyme that leads to changes in certain proteins in the body. The subsequent result is the body launching an immune attack on these proteins which leads to chronic inflammation that is responsible for bone and cartilage destruction. The researchers are hopeful that the discoveries will lead to new options for the prevention and treatment of RA.

Gum disease has been linked to so many other problems throughout the body, including RA, heart disease, pregnancy problems and even certain cancers. Gum disease is preventable. Good home care (brushing and flossing, every day) and visiting your dental hygienist on a regular basis will help most people avoid every dealing with gum disease. Certain medical conditions, like diabetes, make the odds of contracting gum disease higher but more frequent dental visits can keep your smile healthy.

Find out more about protecting yourself from gum disease, and all of its consequences, by contacting Dr. John Highsmith in Asheville, NC today at 828-627-9282.

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Posted in: Periodontal Disease

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