No Link Between Gum Disease & Arthritis

McKinney family dentist

As patients of McKinney family dentist Dr. Paul Lawrence know, individuals that suffer from gum disease and tooth decay have a significantly higher risk of developing a range of chronic illnesses. Recent studies have found compelling links between oral disease and such long-term health problems as cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, dementia, and cancer. While more research continues to delve into the relationship between oral and overall health, some new studies have also been disassociating some health conditions from gum disease.

Previous studies have suggested a possible link between periodontitis and rheumatoid arthritis, two common diseases that share a number of risk factors, most significantly smoking. However, a new study conducted by Swedish researchers has found no evidence to support the theory that the prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis is higher in patients with periodontitis and vice versa.

Looking For A Connection

To determine whether a link existed between periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis, both of which are characterized by bone destruction and chronic inflammation, a team of researchers from Sweden analyzed the data from over 2,700 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and compared it data collected on nearly 4,000 healthy individuals without arthritis.

The study was able to corroborate an early finding, that the prevalence of periodontitis was higher amount men than women, in both the healthy (35 percent and 31 percent, respectively) and rheumatoid arthritis group (36 percent and 31 percent, respectively). Furthermore, the study found that the risk of periodontitis increased according to a participant’s smoking status and age in both groups.

However, no significant difference in the prevalence of periodontal disease in terms of gingivitis or periodontitis was observed between the healthy group and the rheumatoid arthritis group. While previous research has indicated a possible connection between both diseases, the findings of this latest study suggest such a connection remain unproven at best.

To determine whether a connection truly does exist, researchers have called for a large epidemiological study to be conducted.

Your McKinney Family Dentist’s Tips For a Healthy Teeth

While research may no longer conclusively link rheumatoid arthritis to gum disease, your oral health still plays an important factor in protecting your long-term health in a variety of ways.

In addition to lowering your risk for a number of chronic diseases, good oral health can also impact your personal and professional lives. Studies have shown that individuals who enjoy quality oral health enjoy better self-esteem, less stress, and feel more confident.

Fortunately, quality oral health only requires you to practice solid oral hygiene, and that you schedule regular dental exams and cleanings with your McKinney family dentist. By brushing and flossing daily and receiving the dental care you require, you can enjoy a great looking smile for a lifetime.