Gum disease and arthritis | What Do My Knees Have to Do with My Teeth?

Your dental health can have wide-ranging consequences for your overall health. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, researchers from the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland have connected rheumatoid arthritis to periodontitis. The link between gum disease and arthritis comes from the bacteria released into the blood stream. Every time your gums bleed, bacteria is released into the bloodstream.  This bacteria can land in your joints and mediate a change in the joints.

What Is Periodontitis?

A severe stage of gum disease, periodontitis is the culmination of untreated gingival infection. What starts out as light gum bleeding and swollen gum tissue can eventually lead to deep pockets of infection between your teeth and even tooth loss without treatment. In these stages of gum disease, periodontitis may cause your teeth to feel loose in their sockets and fall out.

What Does Periodontitis Have to Do with My Knees?

Gum disease has many connections to overall health problems, including diabetes complications, heart disease, pregnancy issues, and stroke. Recently, researchers have found that gum disease bacteria can even contribute to rheumatoid arthritis pain. They discovered oral bacteria in the synovial fluid surrounding the kneecap of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. They concluded that the bacteria had traveled through the blood stream and was attracted to the weakened synovial fluid. The bacteria make the diseased synovial fluid much worse for the arthritis sufferer, increasing rheumatoid arthritis pain.

How Can I Protect Myself from Gum Disease?

While periodontal disease prevention is important for every patient, those with rheumatoid arthritis should take special care to avoid gum disease. We recommend a healthy, regular dental hygiene routine, including brushing twice daily and flossing at least once a day. In addition, we encourage you to schedule routine dental checkups twice a year. Women are at increased risk due to hormonal variations. At these dental checkups, Dr. Fondriest can remove the hardened plaque and bacteria responsible for causing gum disease.

Learn more about the link between gum disease and arthritis

You can schedule a dental checkup by calling Lake Forest Dental Arts at 847-234-0517. We proudly offer preventive dentistry services to patients from Lake Forest and the North Shore suburbs near Chicago.

Dr. Fondriest is a Nationally recognized and highly sought after cosmetic dentist. He serves clients from throughout the United States