In our last blog article, we looked at the balance of healthy bacteria in the mouth, or the “oral microbiome”, and its relationship to diabetes. Today we focus on another common disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, or RA, and the fact that this condition also causes inflammatory conditions. As with diabetes, RA patients also have a higher risk of gum disease.
Inflammation damages the gums and also the ligaments that support teeth. Eventually the inflammation invades the jaw bone, and subsequently causes bone loss. For RA patients, it is important to be aware of this possibility and be proactive about prevention.
There are studies underway looking at drugs and biologic medications having a preventative influence, but the evidence is not definitive. Thus, at present, the best prevention is good oral hygiene. Doctors suggest professional cleaning at least twice a year, utilizing an electric toothbrush twice a day, and regular flossing.
When patients are dealing with conditions that are inflammatory, such as diabetes and RA, good dental hygiene and professional care are essential keys to prevention.