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Gum Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis is there a link?

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic inflammatory disease that causes significant morbidity and mortality. In Rheumatoid Arthritis disease, pro-inflammatory cytokines and growth factors produced by cells in the inflamed synovium (lining of the joint) can influence bone growth differentiation, providing a link between inflammation and the bone destruction. This is the reason why the joint becomes swollen and joint pain is often felt. RA is considered an autoimmune disease that is influenced by the body’s immune system that normally fights off infection and viruses. Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease), produces some of the same pro-inflammatory cytokines that are found in RA. While having this bacteria exist on a regular basis in the mouth and left untreated, we are allowing our immune system to constantly be inflamed and in overdrive and possibly enhancing the Rheumatoid Arthritis. If we have a medical condition that is influenced by inflammation, and it is a fact that the most bacteria in our body are found within the oral cavity, then it would be to our health and comfort to keep a periodontal situation under control by having your teeth cleaned every three to four months. While most people come to the Hygienist every six months, those with a compromised medical or systemic health problem would benefit with a good oral home care routine and more frequent cleaning appointments to help keep the bacteria to a minimum.

*Next month: Gum Disease and the Tongue Piercing.

Written by: Bernadette Kozak, IPDH
Fryeburg Family Dental
www.fryeburgfamilydental.com

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