In recent years, an overwhelming amount of research has found clear links between tooth decay and gum disease and a number of chronic long-term diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, dementia, and even some forms of cancer. This type of research has made it perfectly clear that an individual’s oral health plays an enormously important role in protecting their overall health, as well.
Now a new study has found evidence that suggests poor oral health may also increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
Researchers from the University of Louisville have found that poor oral health can raise an individual’s risk of rheumatoid arthritis based on the presence of a specific enzyme found in the gum tissue of patients suffering from gum disease. The enzyme, referred to as peptidylarginine deiminanase, has previously been linked to rheumatoid arthritis.
A common condition, rheumatoid arthritis causes joints to become swollen and painful.
Finding a Connection
The problematic enzyme is created naturally when the body transforms one form of protein into another form referred to as citrulline. The presence of citrulline often confuses the body into believing a threat is present, causing it to attack the protein. This results in inflammation occurring in individuals suffering from autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
Previous studies have shown links between rheumatoid arthritis and an individual’s oral health, with many of those studies showing problems with arthritis more common among patients with gum disease.
The researchers analyzed additional forms of oral bacteria and concluded that none of the others had any significant impact on the development of rheumatoid arthritis.
More research on the connection between rheumatoid arthritis and oral health is needed before researchers can draw a clear cause and effect conclusion.
Prevention is the key when it comes to protecting your oral and overall health.
The American Dental Association recommends patients spend at least two minutes at a time brushing in the morning and in the evening, and flossing once a day, to maintain their oral health. While brushing and flossing are the two most important habits for protecting your oral health, scheduling regular visits with Dr. Magelsen also ranks as an important part of preventing gum disease and tooth decay.
Don’t wait until a serious health problem arises before you start making your oral health a top priority. Call 360-794-8292 to schedule your next appointment with Dr. Travis Magelsen D.M.D today!