Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that affects the joints and tissues that surround them. While the cause isn’t always known, it is considered an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system accidentally attacks healthy tissues.
This is very similar to periodontal disease, which is also a chronic inflammatory condition, and recent studies have found that there is a connection between the development of gum disease and the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
The Link Between Gum Disease And Arthritis
When examining patients who are living with rheumatoid arthritis, there is also a high incidence of gum disease. Both conditions occur as a result of inflammatory responses within the body that can lead to the destruction of bone and tissue.
The conditions have similar characteristics, especially when it comes to risk factors – smoking is a major risk factor for both problems. Additionally, it has been found that when a patient is experiencing both diseases, they’ll have more anti-citrullinated protein antibodies in their body, which can lead to even more inflammation.
Gum Diseases Can Trigger Arthritis
It is thought that gum disease can trigger the development of rheumatoid arthritis in several ways. First, the bacteria that cause gum disease can enter the blood stream and move into the synovial fluid that is responsible for lubricating the joints, triggering inflammation.
Secondly, the inflammation caused by gum disease can raise cytokine levels, which triggers inflammation in the entire body, resulting in inflammatory conditions like arthritis. It is also thought that treating gum disease could reduce the symptoms of arthritis, including inflammation and joint pain.
Regardless of whether or not you are at a heightened risk for rheumatoid arthritis, it is important that you treat the signs of gum disease as soon as they show up. Contact our office to schedule your next dental cleaning and evaluation today.