How Dental Health and Rheumatoid Arthritis May be Related

How Dental Health and Rheumatoid Arthritis May be RelatedCould bleeding gums cause painful joints? Startling new research from the University of Louisville indicates that they might. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition that causes joints to become painful and swollen, while gum disease is an inflammatory disease that occurs when oral bacteria attack the gum tissue. The link between these two conditions appears to be an enzyme called peptidyl arginine deiminase.

This enzyme transforms some of the proteins in the body into another protein called citrulline. The immune system often recognizes citrulline as a foreign invader and attacks it, which causes problems in those with autoimmune problems. Previous studies have linked rheumatoid arthritis with poor dental health, but this was the first study that specifically linked periodontal disease with not just rheumatoid arthritis, but also a potential cause.

Although more research is needed to better understand the link between these two conditions, periodontal disease has previously been connected to other potentially serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease, pregnancy complications, diabetes, and dementia. Preventing it is often as simple as practicing good dental habits.

Brush your teeth two times a day with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush for at least two minutes at a time. Use floss or an interdental cleaner to clean between your teeth. If desired, use an antimicrobial mouthwash to kill more bacteria. Eat a balanced diet, and know your own risk factors. Call our office today to learn more or to schedule your next cleaning with Dr. Frame.

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