Arthritis Sufferers – Take Added Precautions When It Comes To Oral Health
Every part of your body is, in some way, connected to every other part. When it comes to the mouth, however, research is showing just how intricately connected your oral health is to your overall health.
Nearly 47% of American adults have some level of gum disease, which is the leading cause of adult tooth loss. As challenging as tooth loss can be physically and physiologically, there is a disturbing lack of understanding when it comes to how the health of the mouth relates to overall health.
For decades now, research findings have shown links between the bacteria of periodontal (gum) disease and serious health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, memory loss, preterm babies, diabetes, some cancers and impotency. This connection occurs when the infectious bacteria of gum disease enter the bloodstream through weakened gum tissues. This potent bacteria can trigger inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body, causing what is know as systemic inflammation.
Research recently found a remarkably close correlation between rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and gum disease. Findings show a genetic similarity between gum disease and RA along with a similar clinical makeup, primarily in pathogens. Pathogens are agents that lead to disease or illness. Studies have also found that the pathological process that occurs in gum disease is nearly identical to that of arthritis.
It is well known that both conditions cause chronic inflammation in tissues that connect to bone. However, researchers have found that the two diseases also trigger inflammation in a similar way. The particular bacteria type in oral tissues from gum disease and tissues surrounding arthritic joints apparently share a close likeness.
In one study, researchers noted that symptoms often improved in RA patients when gum disease was treated. It is suspected that this is the result of a reduced level of oral inflammation to the system.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a debilitating, painful disease that destroys joints. It tends to emerge gradually, beginning with morning stiffness and aching muscles. Joint pain and stiffness most commonly effects the fingers, knees, ankles, toes, wrists, elbows, hips, shoulder and neck. As RA-related inflammation worsens, joints swell. Symptoms include fever, disfiguring of hands and feet, numbness and tingling. There is no cure for RA.
Like RA, gum disease causes inflammation, which leads to pain, swelling and tenderness. As it progresses, it can destroy bone structures that support teeth as well as surrounding tissues. In initial stages, gum disease causes tender gums, gums that bleed when brushing and frequent bad breath. As it worsens, gum tissues deepen in color and pus pockets form. Eventually, teeth loosen and require removal.
Fortunately, more and more adults are learning how significantly gum disease can increase the risk – and even severity – for serious health conditions. Hopefully, this will lead to a greater awareness of the need to have healthy teeth and gums.
Take care of your whole health by starting with your smile! Begin with a dental check-up, or if you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease, have treatment at your earliest convenience. Gum disease will only worsen without treatment.
Call 219-987-5733 to learn more or ask for a no-charge consultation to begin.