Treat Gum Disease and Help Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis



For over a century, doctors have known that oral health and your overall physical health are directly

related. As we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, there is scientific proof that gum disease is known to cause

other more serious diseases in the body. For decades doctors have known that gum infections are the

source of many inflammatory diseases like appendicitis and rheumatoid arthritis.



A Little History on RA


Rheumatoid Arthritis happens when your immune system malfunctions and attacks your cells, making

joints stiff and painful.  Back in the day, the treatment was to pull all the patient’s teeth hoping to remove

the infection. For obvious reasons, patients weren’t thrilled with this option, plus it didn’t solve the

problem since the infection was in the gums, not the teeth, so by the early1930s this was pretty much

discredited as a treatment for gum disease.



It is generally believed that the bacteria that live on and in the human body are mostly useful and

protective – helping with digestion and protecting against pathogens and swelling. However, there are

some harmful bacteria living in our mouths as well. There are complex connections between the immune

system and bacteria in the mouth, lungs and intestinal tract. These connections led to further research on

the link between rheumatoid arthritis and gum disease.



Recent Discovery Links Gum Disease and RA



Researchers recently discovered that a specific bug or bacteria in gum infections are the same ones that

cause RA. This bug in turn triggers the production of certain proteins, which are suspected of activating

problems in the immune system – leading directly to RA. The researchers also found that bone erosion and

tissue damage in both diseases are caused by similar inflammatory processes. This adds to the data already

showing that rheumatoid arthritis is linked to gum health.


These latest findings will have important implications in determining the root cause of RA, as well as

hopefully preventing and treating it in the future. Technological advancements in both dentistry and

medicine offer hope for people with RA and other inflammatory diseases. Staying educated about the

advancements and treatments available to you is the key to helping treat and control your RA. Take

advantage of all of the on-line educational resources about RA and keep in contact with your doctor for

new treatments or ways to control your symptoms.



What Can You Do Today?


Getting regular dental cleanings and treatment can help avoid the germ that causes RA. If you have RA,

take care of your teeth since cleanings and treating gum disease reducing the inflammation and infection in

your mouth can also reduce joint swelling. Set up regular dental exams, eat a healthy diet, be sure to brush

and floss daily.  If your RA causes stiff, painful hands or jaws, making taking care of your teeth difficult,

speak to your dentist or occupational therapist about ways to make it easier to take care of your teeth,

including the use of special assistive devices.


It’s also important to work with your doctor to get and keep your arthritis under control. Doing so could

potentially save both your joints and your teeth. Healthy gums can help you achieve a healthier body

overall and live more comfortably with your RA.


Remember: Healthy Mouth. Healthy Smile. Healthy Body.



Your health matters to us. If you have any questions concerning this post, call us at (248) 357-3100 today.

We’re always happy to hear from our awesome patients!


The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or

treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding

medical conditions or gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis.