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Dentistry and Arthritis

Pain in the joints? Proper oral care might relieve the pain.

New research show that rheumatoid arthritis and gum disease share similar mechanisms. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune reaction which causes inflammation of the joints. This leads to swelling, pain and limited joint movement. Gum disease is an inflammatory state of the gums due to accumulation of plaque around the teeth.

The excerpt below is taken from the article:

“Periodontitis shares pathogenic mechanisms with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and may trigger its onset. In this study, researchers performed joint and dental examinations, determined Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis) antibodies, and examined inflammatory microenvironments in early and chronic RA patients.

…RA patients showed a marked inflammatory profile in all microenvironments, including oral, despite routine dental care. P. gingivalis antibodies can be considered as biomarkers for rheumatologists in identifying those who may benefit from periodontal treatment.?

What this means is that inflammation, in one part of the body, may exacerbate inflammation in another part of the body. We have always placed a greater importance in eliminating inflammation in other parts of the body e.g. through supplements, medication, dietary changes but oral care should now be on the ?to-do? list as well!

So the next time it feels like you need to rush through brushing in the night, remember that you?re doing your teeth (and gums and body) a favour! Afterall, it only takes 2 minutes to brush properly!