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Link Between Periodontal Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis

By Elaine Moore on 9/23/2012

Autoimmune disorders are frequently accompanied by inflammation. The question still remains whether the autoimmune process causes a persistent inflammatory state; or chronic low-grade inflammation contributes to the inflammatory response.

A recent study published in Annals of Rheumatic Disease found that people with rheumatoid arthritis may be up to four times more likely to have gum disease. This is similar to the link previously found between periodontal disease and heart disease as well as as other systemic diseases. Periodontal disease is also thought to have an autoimmune component and as with most co-existing autoimmune disorders, treating one disorder typically improves the other condition.

Patients with autoimmune thyroid disease are also more prone to gum disease, which may be related to mouth dryness or nutrient deficiencies. 

The bottom line is that reducing chronic mouth inflammation with regular dental celanings and not smoking are important factors in reducing periodontal disease and reducing inflammation in autoimmune disease. A new chewing gum, ReviTeaLize, which contains green tea, aloe vera, and xylitol is also helpful in preventing periodontal disease and is recommended for ameliorating the mouth dryness characteristic of Sjogren's disease.


Denise Mann, "Gum Disease More Common in People with RA," WebMD Health News, August 8, 2012.

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