Rheumatoid Arthritis patients are more likely to have Gum Disease

Teeth - BSN

(Best Syndication News) - A study found that patients with rheumatoid arthritis were four times more likely to have gum disease than those who were otherwise considered healthy. The study results were published in the online edition of the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

The researchers came to this conclusion by comparing the gum health of 91 adults diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and 93 healthy adults that were matched for age and sex. All of the participants were non-smokers. The researchers report that smoking is a recognized risk factor for developing rheumatoid arthritis. None of the study participants were treated with arthritis medications.

The researchers scored the participants for the level of inflammatory markers. The gum disease extent was determined by interviewing the participants on symptoms. The symptoms that were assessed were swollen and bleeding gums, loose teeth, and sensitive teeth. They also asked about any lost teeth that occurred because of gum disease. The researchers measured the depth of gum pocketing with a probe to determine how far the gum line had receded.

Almost 65 percent of the rheumatoid arthritis patients had showed signs of gum disease. Comparably, only 28 percent of the healthy participants had gum disease symptoms. The researchers said that the gum disease in rheumatoid arthritis patients was usually more severe.

The pocketing depth was measurably greater with the rheumatoid arthritis group compared to the healthy group. The increased depth of pocketing was even deeper with those who tested positive for ACPA, which is a systemic response to a person's own proteins.

The researchers said that those rheumatoid arthritis patients who tested positive for ACPA had the disease longer and had an increased level of disease activity. They also had higher levels of inflammatory markers compared to those who tested negative for ACPA.

The bacteria, porphyromonas gingivalis, are the main culprit that promotes gum disease. The researchers point out that the same bacteria are also capable of making an enzyme that can make ACPA in gum tissue.

By: Marsha Quinn
Health Reporter

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