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Link between rheumatoid arthritis and gum disease

Recent studies have shown a link between rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and gum disease. A bacteria found in active gum disease called Porphyromonas gingivalis (Pg) secretes an enzyme that attacks patients with RA.

There are other factors in the development of RA that include genetic, hormonal, infectious and environmental risk factors. Gum disease can impact RA from two aspects. The first is gum disease increases inflammation in the body, which can trigger an autoimmune reaction. The second is Pg bacteria that can provide the foreign proteins that the body attacks. The bacteria in the gum can access the rest of your body when the gums bleed.  These bacteria can spread the foreign proteins and stimulate autoimmune diseases like RA.

One study has shown that the more severe the gum disease the worse the rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

So what does this mean for patients with RA?  Have your gums checked and make sure any gum disease is under control.