Gum disease found to trigger rheumatoid arthritis

Gum disease found to trigger rheumatoid arthritis
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

(NaturalHealth365) Millions of people are unaware of the true dangers linked to gum disease – mainly because their condition has been undiagnosed or poorly treated by conventional dentistry. If you suffer with chronic join pain due to rheumatoid arthritis, this special report will prove to be particularly important to you.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic degenerative autoimmune disease, in which the tissues that cushion the joints are attacked by the body’s own immune system. The eventual result is the destruction of cartilage, ligaments and bone around the joints – a debilitating and painful condition. And, although the cause of RA is supposedly unknown, recent research points to a possible answer – the causal link between gum disease and RA.

Gum disease is a threat to health, in and of itself

Gum disease appears in two forms: gingivitis – an earlier, milder manifestation – and periodontitis.

Gingivitis is caused by a buildup of plaque – sticky deposits of bacteria that form on teeth and gums. Classic signs and symptoms of gingivitis include sore, swollen, reddened gums – often with bleeding from the gums after brushing. Bad breath can also be a tipoff to the presence of gingivitis.

Untreated gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease that can cause bone loss – as well as loss of teeth.  Signs of periodontitis include gums pulling away from the teeth, teeth appearing longer (due to receding gums), sensitivity to hot and cold, bad breath, loose or tilting teeth and gum abscesses.

In addition to damaging bone and teeth, the bacteria and inflammation associated with periodontitis can contribute to heart disease, diabetes, respiratory conditions and even cancer. By now, it should be abundantly clear, don’t ignore the signs of gum disease – especially if you have arthritis.

In fact, researchers have found that people with RA are at much greater risk of developing gum disease. And, after being diagnosed with RA, many people report that their gum disease worsens – with more bleeding gums, receding gums and tooth loss.

Study clearly shows the relationship between RA and gum disease

In a 2012 British study, researchers found that 65 percent of RA patients had gum disease – as compared to 28 percent of people without RA. Patients with RA tended to have gum disease that was more severe – with the severity of the gum disease mirroring the severity of the RA. In addition, RA patients with gum disease who had suffered loss of jaw bone also had RA-associated bone erosions in other joints.

Professor Alan Silman, medical director of Arthritis Research UK, concluded, “People with RA have an increased risk of periodontal disease.” He also warned that people with RA need to be vigilant for early signs of gum disease in order to prevent infection.

Professor Silman noted that the association could be partly due to genetics – with some people simply more likely to develop both conditions.

But, other factors may be at work as well.

For example, having RA can cause problems with the jaws that make cleaning the teeth more difficult. As a result, more plaque is left in the mouth, thereby increasing the likelihood of developing gum disease. And, prolonged gum inflammation can reduce the therapeutic effects of RA medicine, thereby worsening the condition.’

But can gum disease actually trigger RA?

Researchers say: maybe so.

In a review published in 2013 in Current Opinion in Rheumatology, researchers found P. gingivalis, the primary pathogen that causes gum disease, in both the periodontal tissues and the synovial fluid of RA patients.

This is very significant, because P. gingivalis has the ability to modify certain proteins – to which the body launches an autoimmune response, thereby causing joint damage in individuals already susceptible to RA. The team found that P. gingivalis can lead to earlier development, faster progression and greater severity of RA – including more serious damage to bone and cartilage.

Just as gum disease seems to worsen after the diagnosis of RA, many anecdotal accounts show that RA can flare after the diagnosis of gum disease.

Fortunately, treatment of gum disease can improve both conditions – if only because it cuts the inflammatory burden on the body.

Prevention of gum disease is especially vital for RA patients

If you have been diagnosed with RA, it’s imperative that you see your dentist often for prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of gum disease. Having regular professional cleanings – at your dentist’s recommendation – can help remove hardened plaque that triggers gum disease.

Mild cases of gingivitis can often be treated by simply stepping up oral hygiene – brushing teeth at least twice daily, and flossing regularly.

Of course – if you still smoke, try to quit. You’ll be doing your gums – and your overall health – a big favor.

Natural nutrients can treat gum disease

A combination of vitamin C and quercetin, a flavonoid found in fruits and vegetables, can be used to reduce inflammation and support gum health. These disease-fighting nutrients appear to bolster each other’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant powers.

Editor’s note: My wife had a chronic issue with bleeding gums – even after brushing, flossing and eating the best foods possible. The solution was found by swishing (and swallowing) 1 tablespoon of Liposomal Vitamin C + Quercetin … every day. This really helps to support gum health.

In addition, CoQ10, an antioxidant enzyme vital for the health of tissues, can alleviate bleeding gums and combat periodontal bone loss. CoQ10 is abundant in broccoli, spinach and sardines, and is also available as a convenient supplement. Natural health experts recommend a dosage of 60 to 600 mg a day; your integrative healthcare provider can advise a regimen that is right for you.

You can also fight gum disease by rubbing the gums with antibacterial herbs and nutrients such as sage, lemon juice, peppermint or chamomile – to name just a few.

Finally, brushing the teeth with baking soda and unrefined sea salt can provide some added protection against gum disease.

Although the jury is still out concerning the exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis, one thing seems clear – protecting the health of your teeth and gums could be an important technique for preventing the onset of this disease.

Sources for this article include:

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments