It is widely recognised and agreed upon by health professionals that having healthy teeth and gums is highly important for physical health. Dentists ceaselessly stress the importance of taking the time to maintain proper oral hygiene, a move that is essential to ward off gum disease, tooth decay and other serious conditions. However, the effects of poor oral hygiene are not limited to your teeth and gums, as mouth bacteria have also shown to be crucially linked to healthy joints. If you feel as if you are suffering the impact of other health issues, or if you have already been specifically diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, then it could be worth consulting a professional periodontist in Montreal to see how your assessing your oral hygiene could be a key step to improving your health.
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a type of autoimmune arthritis, commonly triggered by a faulty immune system. RA affects the small joints of the hands, including the wrists, knuckles, and the middle joints of the fingers. It can also affect the joints of the feet. Causing inflammation, swelling, pain, and stiffness, RA can deeply affect the quality of an individual’s life. Arthritis, otherwise known as autoimmune disease, means that certain cells of the person’s immune system have ceased to function properly. Instead of fulfilling their designated role of defending the body against illness, these cells begin attacking healthy joint tissues, thus causing RA.
So, what is the connection between gum diseases and Rheumatoid Arthritis? How is it that by taking care of your teeth and gums, you also ensure that you are helping yourself to maintain healthy joints?
The Connection Between Your Mouth and Joints
Several studies have demonstrated the ways in which Rheumatoid Arthritis is connected to a person’s oral health. These investigations were launched by researchers as a consequence of observations that those suffering from RA also tend to have periodontal disease, and vice versa.
Equally, previous studies of an assessment of periodontal disease had also shown that people experiencing moderate to severe periodontitis and gum problems had more than twice the risk of also suffering from RA, as compared to those with either mild cases or no evidence of periodontitis. Similarities identified between the types of tissue in the mouth and joints have begun to shed light upon how deeply linked the two conditions of periodontitis and RA might be, with equally strong parallels present between the types of cells attacking these tissues.
There are still several corners to be investigated in the fields of gum disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis, as research surrounding the idea that mouth bacteria can trigger the autoimmunity of RA remains incomplete. Whilst the studies have revealed strong links, it is also the case that not everyone who has gum disease also has RA, and that equally some people with RA do not suffer from gum disease.
However, whilst further research is still needed, it remains wise for us to practice good oral hygiene with regular, thorough brushing to prevent tooth decay and gum problems. It is now the general consensus that flossing and using mouthwash are also highly recommendable, or even necessary, to ensure a high standard of dental health. By taking these measures and guarding ourselves against the associated risks of developing a health condition such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, it remains clear that a routine of disciplined oral hygiene thoroughly enhances our chances of leading a positive, healthy life.