Rheumatoid Arthritis Linked to Periodontal Disease

Arthritis and Gum Disease

old woman with arthritis

Q: What do these two conditions have in common?
A: Chronic inflammation

"The common denominator here is the inflammatory aspect of both diseases," according to President of the New Jersey Society of Periodontists Dr. Scott Zirkin. Because chronic bacterial infection is associated with periodontal disease, the system experiences an inflammatory response. The ensuing chronic inflammation not only taxes the immune system but it can destroy connective tissue and bone tissue, both teeth and joints.

So here's the good news for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. A study in the Journal of Periodontology found that people who suffer from both periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis had fewer swollen joints and stiffness when they brought their periodontal disease under control.

"The mouth/body connection is very strong and should not be underestimated by those living with arthritis or their caregivers," says Zirkin. We would like to take that one step further and tell you that the mouth/body connection should not be underestimated by any of our patients because there are many body-related complications associated with periodontal disease, not just rheumatoid arthritis.

Arthritis sufferers may be more likely to develop periodontal disease and resolving periodontal disease can be more difficult for them. That's because arthritis can make it challenging to practice proper oral hygiene such as brushing and flossing. If you have limited manual dexterity and need help fighting or preventing periodontal disease we can help. We have methods, strategies, and tools that can make it easier for you to maintain a proper oral hygiene regime.