Arthritis and Gum Disease – The Link

People with gum disease are more likely to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disorder. RA occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own tissues and causes widespread inflammation. In addition to causing joint pain and damage, RA can affect other organs of the body including eyes, lungs, blood vessels and even skin.arthritis

An international team of researchers from the European Union’s Gums and Joints project have discovered how the bacteria responsible for gum disease makes RA worse. The effects including earlier onset of RA, faster progression of the disease and greater severity of symptoms and joint damage.

The researchers found the P. gingivalis, responsible for gum disease, produces a unique enzyme that starts a reaction in the body which leads to the production of citullinated proteins. The body sees these as intruders and the immune system attacks. In RA patients, the result is chronic inflammation which leads to bone and cartilage destruction.

People who have gum disease are at least twice as likely to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and other research has shown that a P. gingivalis infection in the mouth will precede the onset of RA.

Protect your smile and your joints! Please contact Rothfus Family Dental today at 541-858-7994 to schedule your next dental hygiene visit.