Sunday, June 14, 2009

Treating Periodontal Disease may Help Rheumatoid Arthritis

New research shows that fifty-six percent of people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) also have periodontal disease. Studies continue to show the link between inflammation and gum disease and overall health. Individuals with periodontal disease also displayed more symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, including elevated anti-CCP (cyclic citrullinated peptide) antibodies, according to findings from researchers at Grigore T Popa University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Rehabilitation Hospital, Iasi, Romania.

Treating rheumatoid arthritis was also found to help periodontal disease in the study. After six months of RA treatment with anti-TNF therapy, used to prevent destruction of joints from rheumatoid arthritis, 20 out of 25 individuals studied showed significant improvement in the health of their teeth and gums.

According to Dr Codrina Ancuta who led the study, "There is a growing body of evidence to demonstrate an association between periodontal disease and systemic conditions involving inflammatory rheumatic disease (especially RA), cardiovascular disease and diabetes”. The link between periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis is not surprising, given the mounting evidence that inflammation from periodontal disease can also lead to other systemic disease.

Studies presented recently at the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Copenhagen, Denmark (EULAR) also showed that just having periodontal disease increased the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Among forty-five individuals studied who had rheumatoid arthritis, blood testing revealed that having moderate to severe periodontal disease was also associated with increased markers in the blood, indicating more severe rheumatoid arthritis.

Unfortunately, many individuals forgo dental exams, especially those who are uninsured. Investing in the health of your teeth and gums has widespread implications for better health. The new study shows a significant link between periodontal disease and the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Taking care to prevent periodontal disease, combined with known treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, appears to limit symptoms for both diseases.

European League Against Rheumatism