65% of Rheumatoid arthritis patients have active gum disease
Gum disease and RA
There has always been a long-standing observational link between gum disease and RA, with Hippocrates (commonly referred to as the ‘father of modern western medicine’) suggesting centuries ago that pulling teeth could cure arthritis. Fortunately with the medical and dental treatments available these days, this is not necessary or recommended!
People with RA appear to face an increased risk of developing gum disease and are more likely to suffer from more severe symptoms. After diagnosis with RA people may notice more bleeding whilst brushing, gums receding and loss of teeth.
A study in 2012, reported that 65% of RA patients had gum disease compared with just 28% of patients without RA. They found that RA patients were four times more likely to have gum disease than their RA-free counterparts and their gum disease tended to be more severe.
Commenting on the study Professor Alan Silman, then Medical Director of Arthritis Research UK, said “We have known for some time people with RA have an increased risk of periodontal disease, it could be that a person’s genetic make-up puts them at risk of developing both conditions. People with RA and the doctors treating the disease need to be vigilant for early signs of gum disease to prevent serious infection.”