Periodontal disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis
Periodontal disease, gum disease, and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) are systemic inflammatory disorders, which is how they have a connection. Both diseases frustrate the immune system and attack its tissues, eventually leading to tooth loss and joint pain. Learn about the relationship and what you can do to protect your overall health.
Studies show a strong connection between RA and gum disease, an inflammatory condition that can lead to tooth loss and other health complications. Both diseases have inflammation in common, which explains the connection. Inflammation is a protective immune system response to viruses and bacteria. RA is an autoimmune disease that causes it to mistakenly triggers inflammation even if there are no viruses or bacteria present. Also, Brushing and flossing can be challenging for those with RA. The journal PLoS Pathogens found that the bacteria that cause periodontal disease, Porphyromonas gingivalis, increases the severity of rheumatoid arthritis, leads to earlier disease onset, and causes symptoms to progress quickly.
It is essential for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to be brushing, floss, and see your Shelby Charter Township dentist regularly. Working with your doctors to find out what works best for you is very important. People with gum disease and RA should have an informed care team comprised of a physician and a periodontist. If you don’t have a periodontist, you should get an evaluation from your dentist every year to monitor the status of your gums. Research has found that pain and other symptoms improve when patients with RA successfully treat gum disease.
For patients with RA, one must pay close attention to oral health, schedule regular dental exams, eat healthily, and always brush and floss. If you have trouble taking care of your teeth due to stiff, painful hands or jaws, speak to your dentist or therapist about ways to make dental care easier. Here are some tips as to how you can make dental care easier to manage:
- Toothbrush: add a tennis ball or bicycle grip to handle your toothbrush better
- Floss: experiment with different types of floss
- Toothpaste: using toothpaste in a pump may be easier for you than the toothpaste you have to squeeze
If you have any questions or concerns regarding periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis, contact our Shelby Charter Township office to schedule a consultation and discuss what we can do for you.