Oral health care plays a role in rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a particularly nasty form of arthritis. While the more common form of arthritis — osteoarthritis — typically results from use and overuse of joints which wear down protective cartilage, RA is known to result from autoimmunity. The immune system is misdirected to attack the lining of joints, causing swelling, severe pain, and if not treated joint destruction. Not only the joints are affected, however. RA involves an inflammatory process that can affect many body organs, including the skin, heart, lungs and bone marrow. For example, it’s known that RA sufferers have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis.
Of course, just because autoimmunity is involved doesn’t mean that external factors can’t or don’t play an important role in instigating the disease. And recent research published in Science Translational Medicine suggests how good dental care might well be an important factor in preventing the onset of RA.
The investigators, led by Dr. Maximilian Koenig from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, explained that mucosal surfaces such as those of the gums, lungs and GI tract have long been suspected as possible sites of RA initiation. In fact in the early part of the 20th century, pulling all a patient’s teeth was thought to be a means of treating RA — it didn’t work, though.
|Read Full Article: Brush and Floss to Prevent Rheumatoid Arthritis | American Council on Science and Health|