Seeing a complete health dentist regularly can be very beneficial. They usually treat a variety of diseases and conditions including gum disease. Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease affects many people. Some research has shown a strong connection between rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and gum disease. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed…
A Complete Health Dentist Looks at the Relationship Between RA and Periodontal Disease
A complete health dentist says that there is an interesting relationship between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Gum disease is an infection of gum tissues that occur when bacteria on teeth surfaces get underneath the gums. It can lead to teeth falling out and health conditions like heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
Taking good care of the mouth by brushing twice a day, flossing and seeing a dentist twice a year can make it easier to cope with RA. Even further, individuals who are at risk of developing RA can visit a complete health dentist to better understand the oral-systemic connection.
A complete health dentist examines the link between RA and gum disease
The relationship between these two diseases shares some similarities with the old question; 'which came first, the chicken or the egg?' Studies from complete health dentists have shown that people with RA are eight times more likely to develop gum disease. A different study shows that the bacteria strain that leads to periodontal disease helps the progression of RA.
It is not exactly clear why RA increases the risk of gum disease so greatly. One theory suggests that it can be the result of lost dexterity caused by RA that makes it harder to properly clean teeth, increasing the risk of gum disease.
RA and gum disease both trigger a response from the immune system and that leads to inflammation. It is the way the body protects itself from foreign bodies like bacteria and viruses. With autoimmune disorders like RA, the immune system causes inflammation despite the fact there are no foreign bodies invading the system. A person with RA's immune system can also be stimulated by inflammation in the mouth caused by gum disease. This can lead to the immune system triggering inflammation at the joints.
How treatment affects their relationship
People with severe RA experience noticeable improvement after getting treated for gum disease. Many notice less stiffness and pain. People who are simultaneously treated with medication for gum disease and RA show more improvements than those who are only treated for RA.
Those who have both conditions are better off with a care team that includes a complete health dentist. Brushing can be a challenge when struggling with RA and a complete health dentist can educate the patient about other alternatives like electric toothbrushes.
Gum disease has two main stages. The first is gingivitis and it can be reversed with improved oral hygiene. The second stage is called periodontal disease and it needs to be addressed to prevent the loss of teeth. Some patients dealing with RA develop other conditions like sicca syndrome or Sjögren’s syndrome. These are autoimmune disorders that can lead to dry mouth. This makes the person more vulnerable to gum disease and tooth decay.
Keeping teeth health when dealing with RA
Below, are some oral hygiene tips for patients living with rheumatoid arthritis. These tips come directly from a complete health dentist.
- Use a toothbrush that is easy to handle
- Try out different types of floss
- Avoid smoking
- Get regular teeth cleanings
We help with RA and gum disease
Call or visit our Minneapolis clinic to learn more about how treating gum disease helps with rheumatoid arthritis.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Complete Health Dentist in Minneapolis, MN.
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