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The Link Between Rheumatoid Arthritis and Gum Disease

The Link Between Rheumatoid Arthritis and Gum Disease

The correlation between oral and systemic health is becoming well-established the more it is researched. One specific bacteria Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, is often found in the swollen, red, and tender gums of those with severe periodontitis.

Nearly half of all adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease. Additionally, it affects approximately 70% of adults 65 years and older, and nearly one out of four in this age group have severe periodontal disease.

Periodontitis is commonly caused by poor oral hygiene and can lead not only to tooth loss, but is also associated as a risk factor for both heart and lung diseases. Now, one recent study appears to confirm the suspected link between this specific oral bacteria and rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers believe it may be an important trigger in approximately half of all cases.

Although rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, scientists have long surmised that bacterial infections played a role in its development. In fact, the skin that covers the inside parts of the body, like the nose and mouth, known as mucosal surfaces have been implicated as areas of disease inception, and the bacteria within as activators of this disease in those who are susceptible.

Regularly visiting the dentist, along with brushing and flossing your teeth are considered some of the important ways to maintain good oral health, although some people may need to take extra precautions and pay extra attention to their oral health.

If you notice red, swollen, or bleeding gums, it’s vital to your health to schedule an additional visit. To find out more about the link between systemic and oral health, and how Dr. Heidi Finkelstein at My Plantation Dentist can help you have a healthy smile, contact us today to schedule your appointment for an examination, at 954-584-1030.

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