Researchers Uncover Higher Prevalence of Periodontal Disease in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients
CHICAGO—June 5, 2008—Over 1.3 million Americans suffer from rheumatoid
For some patients, adverse RA symptoms may affect manual dexterity, which can make one’s daily routine quite difficult. One area that may be affected is oral hygiene which can ultimately lead to periodontal disease. However, these research findings indicate that poor oral hygiene alone did not account for the association between RA and gum disease, suggesting that other factors may play a role as well.
The study examined the oral health of 57 RA patients and 52 healthy controls. To determine oral hygiene status, each participant underwent a comprehensive oral examination including an assessment of plaque accumulation and gingival inflammation, both indicators of oral hygiene. Probing pocket depth and clinical attachment loss, two markers of periodontal disease, were also measured. Researchers used questionnaires to gauge the subjects’ risk factors for periodontal disease.
The study findings indicated that RA patients were nearly eight times more likely to have periodontal disease compared to the control subjects. These findings accounted for demographic and lifestyle characteristics such as age, gender, education and tobacco use. Researchers then examined the extent to which poor oral hygiene was connected to the increased occurrence of gum disease in
“With results suggesting that rheumatoid arthritis is associated with periodontal disease, it is easy to assume that an
In an effort to best maintain oral health, RA patients are encouraged to brush and floss on a regular basis and see a dental professional twice a year. If gum disease develops, consulting a periodontist is an effective way to determine the most appropriate course of treatment.
According to Dr. Susan Karabin, President of the AAP, maintaining the complete health of