Research suggests link between periodontitis and rheumatoid arthritis

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis appear to have a higher prevalence of gum disease than healthy people, according to new research.

Scientists examined the oral health of 57 people with rheumatoid arthritis and 52 healthy volunteers and found that arthritis patients were nearly eight times more likely to have periodontal (gum) disease.

While some patients’ poor oral health may be due to a lack of manual dexterity, the German researchers believe that other factors may also be involved.

The findings are published in the Journal of Periodontology and editor Dr Kenneth Kornman suggested that inflammation may be the key.

‘Inflammation is already thought to link periodontal disease with other conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes,’ Dr Kornman revealed. ‘We look forward to future research that may reveal the biological mechanisms that link these two important diseases.’

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis are advised to visit a dentist twice a year to help maintain good oral health.

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