Link May Exist Between Oral Health and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Poor oral health may cause rheumatoid arthritis, based on a new study.

Researchers from the University of Louisville determined that poor oral health can raise the risk of rheumatoid arthritis based on the presence of an enzyme that is around when a person has gum disease. This enzyme, called peptidylarginine deiminanse, has also been associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition in which one’s joints become swollen and painful.

The problem with this enzyme is that it results in the body transforming some proteins into a form of protein called citrulline. The body often confuses citrulline and thinks it will cause problems and attacks it as a result. This produces inflammation in people who deal with autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.

Previous studies have pointed to links between oral health and rheumatoid arthritis, with many determining that the problem is more widespread among people with gum disease.

The researchers analyzed other forms of oral bacteria and concluded that none had any impact on rheumatoid arthritis.

More research on the relationship between oral health and rheumatoid arthritis could prove to be valuable. There is also a large amount of evidence that connects oral health and systemic problems. Many studies have shown the correlation between gum disease and a higher risk of stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, heart disease and numerous other health problems.