Research has shown a link between gum disease and a number of health problems, including diabetes and heart disease. Researchers have also long known about a link between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis, but they haven’t known why the two were linked. New research is showing why these two inflammatory problems might be connected.
The research, carried out by University of Louisville School of Dentistry Oral Health and Systemic Diseases researcher Jan Potempa, PhD, DSc, shows that the bacteria that causes gum disease can worsen rheumatoid arthritis, leading to early onset and speeding up progression. This means increased damage to bone and cartilage. Gum disease can lead to chronic inflammation and destruction of the cartilage in the joints.
Studies have also shown that people with gum disease experience higher rates of rheumatoid arthritis.
This is just one more reason that you need to take extra care to prevent and fight against gum disease. The best way to protect yourself from the ill effects of gum disease is through a combination of regular visits twice a year to the dentist and daily brushing and flossing. Many people neglect to floss regularly. It is recommended that you floss once a day, which allows you to sweep away the bacteria that causes gum disease from below the gum line. Brushing alone cannot adequately protect you from gum disease. And gum disease isn’t just linked to rheumatoid arthritis. It’s the leading cause of tooth loss as well, and contributes to a variety of other systemic diseases.
So if it’s been a while since your last visit to the dentist, make sure to make an appointment soon to find out about your gum disease status and any other oral health problems that might be threatening your overall health and wellbeing!