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Link between Oral Health and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Link between Oral Health and Rheumatoid Arthritis

According to researchers, rheumatoid arthritis may be connected to poor oral health. This link lies in an enzyme that has been found in both conditions. Below, you can read more about this link, as well as some other systemic conditions associated with gum disease.


Rheumatoid Arthritis and Gum Disease

The enzyme that researchers have linked to both of these conditions is peptidylarginine deiminase. When this enzyme is present, the body confuses citrulline, a protein, for a pathogen that needs an immune response. For people prone to autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, this immune response can lead to inflammation in various parts of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers experience pain and swelling in the joints in particular. This process adds to evidence of links found in previous studies, which concluded that rheumatoid arthritis was more common in people with gum disease.


Other Systemic Conditions and Gum Disease

Several other systemic conditions have also been linked to gum disease. Risks of Alzheimer’s, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes all seem to be raised in gum disease patients. In all of these conditions, elevated levels of inflammation are seen. Future studies may clarify the connection between gum disease and systemic health, as well as add to our understanding of how to prevent these conditions.

Gum disease may lead to systemic conditions along with bad breath, oral pain, and tooth loss. This highlights the importance of good dental hygiene. Patients can schedule a consultation with our dentist to learn more about gum disease prevention and treatment.


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