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Can Gum Disease Cause Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Gum disease could increase the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Scientists have long suspected that pathogens and bacterial infections may play a role in the development of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Now there is evidence that a bacterium associated with chronic gum infections may trigger an inflammatory response characteristic of RA, a discovery that could lead to new ways to treat and prevent the disease.

“This research may be the closest we’ve come to uncovering the root cause of RA,” said Maximilian Konig, MD, a former Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine fellow now at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body’s own defenses attack joint tissues, causing pain, inflammation and bone erosion. About 1.5 million Americans and one percent of adults worldwide suffer from RA. There is no cure for the disease and treatments only focus on slowing its progression.

In a study of nearly 200 RA patients, Konig and his colleagues found that nearly half had antibodies against Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans in their blood.  

The level of infection with the bacteria was similar in patients with periodontal (gum) disease, but quite different in healthy patients, only 11 percent of whom tested positive for A. actinomycetemcomitans.

Read full article: Can Gum Disease Cause Rheumatoid Arthritis? — Pain News Network

Read Full Article: Can Gum Disease Cause Rheumatoid Arthritis? — Pain News Network

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