I am on several medications that I take daily for a variety of health problems. I am on so many medications off and on that it is sometimes hard to remember them all. One day, I was visiting a new specialist, and I forgot to write down one of my current medications on the new patient form. I was given a prescription, and just after he wrote it I remembered the medication I forgot and told him. He said it was a good thing I remembered when I did, because the new prescription he was going to give me would have interacted with it. I now keep a current list of all medications I am on that I update every time there is a change. I created this blog to encourage others to make lists of their own to keep handy, because some medication interactions can be deadly.
Research indicates connections between rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and gum disease, although the specifics are not entirely clear. Gum disease may trigger the onset of RA in vulnerable individuals and worsen symptoms in people who have the condition, which is just one reason why excellent oral hygiene is important. People with RA also seem to be more susceptible to gum disease, medically known as periodontal disease.
Even the initial stage of gum disease, known as gingivitis, is an inflammatory condition. Inflammation worsens as the disease progresses to periodontitis. People with serious symptoms may lose teeth as the underlying cartilage and bone deteriorates.
Like periodontitis, RA involves chronic inflammation in soft tissue near bone that can eventually damage the bone.
The symptoms of periodontitis and RA are similar as well, involving pain, swelling and tenderness upon touch.
Research & Theories
It's possible that the activity of one particular pathogen in chronic gum disease may trigger the development of RA in people susceptible to this condition. This pathogen can convert components of proteins to citrulline. In some individuals, the body produces antibodies to attack citrullinated proteins. The antibodies may maintain a certain level of inflammation in the body.
Those specific antibodies are markers that doctors look for when they suspect a patient has RA.
A review of studies that was published in 2013 found some evidence that successful gum disease treatment decreased RA symptoms.
The connection between these conditions may work in the other direction as well, as people with RA seem to be more vulnerable to developing periodontal disease.
One study found persons with RA to be almost eight times more likely to have gum disease than those without RA. Research indicates this is not only due to the patients having trouble brushing and flossing effectively, although that is a factor. There appears to be some additional link involved.
Focusing on Oral Hygiene
RA patients may become a bit lax about oral hygiene when their joints ache. Brushing and flossing teeth when hand joints are painful and swollen is difficult. An electric toothbrush can help during those times you dread having to use your hands for these tasks. Dental floss holders also are available so you can floss without having to grip the thin strand.
See a dentist every six months for routine teeth cleaning and a checkup. Your dentist like the one at Dorset Dental Office can detect the first signs of periodontal disease. If you already have this condition, the dentist will recommend strategies to resolve the problem. Simply doing proper daily flossing often can reverse gingivitis.Share