The Link Between Rheumatoid Arthritis and Gum Disease

Sep 27, 2017
If you or a loved one has ever suffered from rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you may have been informed of the possible connection between RA and periodontitis...

Discover the Connection and How to Reduce Your Risk of Both

If you or a loved one has ever suffered from rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you may have been informed of the possible connection between RA and periodontitis. For decades, there has been a perceived correlation between the two, and numerous studies have been done to try to discover why the connection exists or if it merely a coincidence.

In 2008, a case study was performed, testing the oral health of 57 RA patients and 52 healthy control subjects. The findings showed that RA patients were almost 8 times more likely to also have periodontal disease. Unfortunately, the study did not successfully explain why the association between the two diseases occurs, though there are many discussions that suggest plausible theories.

Beginning the Discussion

Whenever patients with any type of health concern or ailment come into our office, we take into consideration all the ways this may affect their oral health care. We take care to help them figure out the best approach to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. With our rheumatoid arthritis patients, we like to take the time to sit down and discuss their increased risk of developing gum disease and how to be extra careful. Conversely, we take care to discuss the risk of rheumatoid arthritis and other general health conditions that may be increased with patients showing signs of periodontal disease.

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Some dentists think the correlation lies between RA patients’ limited mobility directly affecting the way the clean their teeth. However, it is more likely that, as they are both systemic inflammatory diseases, the connection is much more biologically rooted than that.

Taking Preventative Measures

At Beaufils Dental, complete health dentistry is our specialty. We understand that a healthy mouth does not stop with just teeth and gums. Maintaining a healthy body is the most surefire way to keep your oral care in top shape, and vice versa! The condition of your mouth can often warn you of other issues within the body that may need to be addressed.

When patients come into our office showing signs of gum disease, we take the necessary steps to helping our patients reduce the bacteria in their mouth and remove any harmful factors in the mouth, such as tooth decay or excessive plaque. In some cases, patients may require a teeth cleaning or a more extensive procedure, such as a root canal.

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We discuss their risk of RA and other diseases, such as diabetes or sinusitis, and how they can work with their physician and/or medical specialists to take necessary steps to help strengthen their body to help prevent poor health conditions from developing.

In the case of RA patients, we are not equipped to help patients treat or control their rheumatoid arthritis. However, we can help them adopt more comfortable dental techniques to help ensure they can still brush and floss their teeth and maintain regular dental checkups without struggling with pain or discomfort.

Treating Periodontal Disease with Expert Care and Attention

Are you showing signs of gum disease and living with rheumatoid arthritis? Dr. Beaufils can help! Even if you are not, we welcome all Cooper City patients who have more questions about the correlation between the two and how they can take preventative steps to benefit their oral health.

We offer a comprehensive list of complete dental services, catering to patients with a number of dental health ailments and concerns. If you or a family member is interested in learning more about our complete health dentistry approach, please call our office at 954-252-1390 to schedule an appointment with the dentist.