[Men’s Health, September 24, 2013]If your joints are giving you trouble, you may want to open wide: The bacteria responsible for gum disease could also trigger rheumatoid arthritis, a new study in the journal PLOS Pathogens reports.Previous research has demonstrated a link between the two diseases—but only to the extent that they often exist simultaneously. Scientists have speculated that periodontitis (oral inflammation caused by bacteria) and rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune disorder) share a common genetic or behavioral thread, like smoking. “People with specific genetic backgrounds are susceptible to [the autoimmune response]. This is very well established,” says study author Jan Potempa, M.D. “But many rheumatoid arthritis patients were never smoking.”
The number of links of dental problems to various diseases keeps on growing. In a recent report in Men’s Health Magazine, a multinational team of scientists found out how periodontitis shares similar traits with rheumatoid arthritis. Until recently, the link between the two health problems were as vague as the meaning of life; researchers hope for other studies to use their findings as a springboard for a more conclusive analysis and give the public another reason to visit their Concord, CA dentist.
The focus of the study was on Porphyromonas gingivalis, one of the various bacterial strains in the oral cavity. Exposure to P. gingivalis was found to result in increased cases of rheumatoid arthritis in test subjects. It also yielded collateral damage in the bone and cartilage around the joints, producing a lab-produced form of rheumatoid arthritis called collagen-induced arthritis.
It should be noted that although the experiment was performed on mice, researchers believe it can still happen to people with severe cases of gingivitis and other periodontal problems. This would be nothing less than disastrous, for few things are more damaging to the human body than the degradation of bone and cartilage.
While a vaccine for P. gingivalis is reportedly in the works, study author Jan Potempa of the University of Louisville School of Dentistry says good oral hygiene is still the best means of defense. Brush and floss regularly and pay a visit to a professional dentist in Concord, CA like Dr. Kent Davis for a regular prophylaxis session, namely cleaning. A clean mouth will definitely prevent P. gingivalis from thriving in sufficient numbers and, with it, rheumatoid arthritis.
(Info from Does Gum Disease Cause Arthritis?, Men’s Health News, September 24, 2013)