May 25 — Australia — A laboratory has reported a significant correlation between rheumatoid arthritis and gum disease.
Mark Bartold, Ph.D., a periodontist and the director of the Colgate Dental Research Center, discussed his recent study and findings at the annual European Congress of Rheumatology.
His study found that mice with periodontitis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) had increased joint inflammation as opposed to those with just RA. Also, the mice with both ailments demonstrated arthritis in their hind paws.
According to Bartold, gum disease and RA could be related through “underlying dysfunctional fundamental inflammatory mechanisms.” Although unsure of where the dysfunction comes from, scientific studies have suggested they are linked.
Further scientific data suggests that those with RA had a greater risk of moderate to severe periodontitis, and those with gum diseases had a greater risk of RA than the rest of the general population.
Additionally, other studies have shown osteoprotegerin (OPG) and receptor-activated nuclear factor-kappaB ligand (RANKL) are highly likely to be found in both RA synovium and periodontitis lesions. Bartold states “it remains to be established whether treatment of periodontal disease and reduction of periodontal inflammation in patients with chronic rheumatoid arthritis will reduce the disease activity of rheumatoid arthritis.”