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How Dental Health and Arthritis May be Related

How Dental Health and Arthritis May be Related

Can a healthy smile keep your joints healthier? According to a recent study, the answer might be yes. Researchers from the University of Louisville’s School of Dentistry found that the bacteria that cause gum disease produce an enzyme. This enzyme is linked to the early onset, faster progression, and greater severity of rheumatoid arthritis. Porphyromonas gingivalis produces PAD, which changes specific protein residues into citrulline. The body responds with inflammation, and the result is cartilage, bone, and tissue destruction. For arthritis patients, the resulting immune attack can lead to lasting joint damage.

The study, which was published in “PLOS Pathogens,” may pave the way for new treatment options for patients who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, as well as offer new preventive strategies. Previous studies have shown that patients with gum disease are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis, and those who have arthritis are at least twice as likely to suffer from periodontal disease as those who do not. P. gingivalis infection may not be solely responsible for the cascade of events leading to rheumatoid arthritis, but this study demonstrates that it is linked to the autoimmune inflammatory responses that result in the joint damage of arthritis patients.

Gum disease is highly preventable with good dental hygiene and healthy dental habits. Brushing and flossing are some of the best ways to prevent periodontal disease, as they mechanically remove the bacteria responsible for the infection. A balanced diet is also important because it nourishes your gums without feeding unhealthy bacteria. Call our offices today to learn more about good dental health or to schedule your appointment with our team.

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