Oral Health and Arthritis
Could good dental habits keep your joints healthier? According to a recent study, the bacterium that causes gum disease may also be linked to rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, degenerative joint disease that leads to inflammation and damage to the cartilage and bones in joints. Porphyromonas gingivalis, the bacterium that causes gum disease, produces an enzyme that changes certain proteins into citruline, which the body recognizes this substance as an invader and attacks.
According to researchers, the subsequent chronic inflammation can lead to earlier onset, faster progressing, and more severe rheumatoid arthritis. The study, which was performed by researchers at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry Oral Health and Systemic Diseases, was published in “PLOS Pathogens.” Researchers believe this will help them better understand ways to prevent and treat rheumatoid arthritis, as well as its link to periodontal disease.
Gum disease alone may not be to blame for the onset of RA but may increase the risk in those already predisposed to the disease. The inflammation associated with gum disease has also been associated with other serious diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and pregnancy complications. The best way to reduce your risk of gum disease is through good dental habits. Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables to nourish your gums and boost your immunity. Brush and floss as recommended, and use an antimicrobial mouthwash if needed. Call us today to learn more or to schedule your next biannual dental checkup with Dr. Frame.
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