For patients who have been avoiding seeing a general dentist because of fear or apprehension, it may be helpful to know that they are not alone. A 2015 study published in Dental Research Journal found that 58.8% of dental patients surveyed experienced dental anxiety. For patients with severe dental phobia, there are several steps they…
How Rheumatoid Arthritis Is Connected to Periodontal Health: Ask a Complete Health Dentist
When living with RA, it is important to see a complete health dentist regularly. Studies show a strong connection between rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and periodontal disease. RA is a chronic inflammatory disorder that is known to affect the joints. RA can also affect other parts of the body including the heart, eyes, lungs, skin, kidneys, or blood. It occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your body’s tissues.
Complete health dentist and RA
Periodontal disease is a progressive condition that usually starts with a bacterial infection. Gingivitis is usually caused by poor oral hygiene that allows plaque to form on teeth. This causes the inflammation of the surrounding gum tissues. Common signs of gingivitis are red or swollen gums or gums that bleed often and easily.
Gingivitis is reversible with a professional cleaning and good oral home care. Untreated gingivitis usually advances to periodontitis. If periodontitis is not treated, it can lead to loss of bone and tissue that support the teeth. It can even lead to tooth loss.
Rheumatoid arthritis and gum disease
RA is an autoimmune disease marked by both painful joints and inflammation. Periodontal disease patients, in general, tend to have higher rates of inflammatory diseases. Based on research, RA patients are more likely to have gum disease than people without it. Their gum disease also tends to be more severe. Unregulated inflammation is associated with both conditions.
Porphyromonas gingivalis is often linked with gum disease. It is also a contributor to the onset of rheumatoid arthritis. Its presence can lead to earlier onset, rapid progression, and it can increase the severity of RA. Other research indicates the presence of gum disease can also accelerate RA progression. If an individual has RA and gets periodontal disease, the gum condition can make RA worse in a short period.
Good dental hygiene and the ongoing treatment of any tooth or gum problems are important. RA patients with periodontal disease benefit significantly from receiving treatment. It is also vital to take proper care of the mouth and teeth. This involves brushing twice a day with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
Floss should be used to clean between the teeth daily. Visiting a complete health dentist regularly is important. The dentist may want to see a patient more often depending on the severity of RA. Avoiding smoking can be beneficial. Smoking can make both conditions worse.
Dental cleanings can help to prevent gum problems. They will allow the dental provider to remove plaque. When plaque hardens along the gumline, it can be hard to keep the teeth clean. A professional dental cleaning is the only effective way to remove hardened plaque.
It is crucial for RA patients to monitor their periodontal health daily. Brushing and flossing consistently is recommended. Partnering with a complete health dentist can also be beneficial. Your dentist can help you establish a good dental health regimen. It may help reduce inflammation for both RA and gum disease. If you want to find out more about how to manage gum disease and RA, talk to your dentist today.
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