Study Links RA to Gum Disease

dental care in Highlands Ranch

When it comes to receiving the best dental care in Highlands Ranch, our team at Aloha Dental wants of our patients to understand the connection between our oral and overall health. As we’ve covered previously in our blog, studies have found significant links between gum disease, tooth loss, and tooth decay and a range of chronic illnesses that include heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

However, one of the most surprising connections exists between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis, or RA. Researchers have determined that a specific association occurs that links Porphyromonas gingivalis, the bacteria most closely linked to the development of gum disease, and RA. Understanding how that bacteria increases an individual’s risk for RA might better help researchers find new and improved methods of treating RA.

The Connection Between RA & Gum Disease

Researchers have already developed the ability to detect the specific antibodies that causes RA years before patients actually start to develop any symptoms, which suggests that the joint may be a target rather than the primary cause of RA. This association also suggest that a preclinical RA phase could make a perfect time to treat the disease before symptoms have actually started to manifest.

Patients at risk for developing RA typically exhibit increased levels of antibodies during an early stage. They also exhibit an increase in oral bacteria in the joints early on, a sign that further suggests a connection between RA and gum disease.

Gum disease is typically marked by an abundance of the pathogenic organism Porphyromonas gingivalis, along with the presence of other anaerobic organisms, Porphyromonas gingivalis is capable of citrullinating antigens in the body, leading to the development of anti-citrullinating protein antibodies. However, researchers hadn’t previously examined citrullinating bacteria and how that may increase an individual’s risk for RA until now.

As part of their study, researchers recruited 48 individuals who tested positive for anti- citrullinating antigens who did not have arthritis, 26 patients with early stage RA, and a control group of 32 healthy individuals. Researchers then tracked these groups between 2015 to 2017.

Using ultrasonography, researchers assessed the current state of each participants’ oral health at the beginning of the study. Individuals at risk for developing citrullinating antigens were then compared to both patients with early stage RA and the healthy control group.

Of the participants at risk for developing citrullinating antigens, 65 percent were women; of the patients with early stage RA, 54 percent were women; and of the healthy group, 59 percent were women. Additionally, 73 percent of the citrullinating group, 54 percent of the early stage RA group, and 38 percent of the healthy group developed gum disease. Of all the groups examined, the citrullinating group were at the highest risk for developing RA more advanced cases of RA than either the control group or the early stage RA group.

It’s not surprising that women were highlighted as most likely to develop RA across all three tests groups. On average women are twice more likely to develop RA than men.

Protecting Your Health

Preventing the buildup of Porphyromonas gingivalis in the body goes a long way towards lowering an individual’s risk for not only arthritis, but all of the other types of diseases commonly associated with gum disease.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to lower your risk for gum disease and the buildup Porphyromonas gingivalis – preventative dental care. By brushing twice a day and flossing daily, you can significantly reduce the buildup of plaque, a sticky biofilm full of Porphyromonas gingivalis, and lower your risk for tooth decay and gum disease.

Of course, brushing and flossing alone won’t be enough. You also need to receive the best dental care Highlands Ranch. This is where our team at Aloha can help. Our team of experienced dentists can provide you with the care needed to enjoy a healthy, great looking smile for a lifetime.

To put your health at risk by ignoring your oral health. Contact our office today to schedule your next exam and cleaning and receive the dental care in Highlands Ranch you need to look and feel your best.