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Rheumatoid Arthritis: Here's How RA Can Affect Our Oral Health & How To Prevent It

In this article, we discuss how having RA could influence your oral health.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Heres How RA Can Affect Our Oral Health & How To Prevent It

Having rheumatoid arthritis can increase your risk of developing various dental issues

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) results in joint discomfort and inflammation. It takes place when the immune system malfunctions and targets the synovium, which is the lining of the joints. The condition typically affects the same joint on both sides of the body, such as both hands or both knees, and is most frequent in the hands, knees, or ankles. 

RA also affects other body systems, including the eyes, heart, circulatory system, and/or lungs. Interestingly, your oral health may be influenced by you having rheumatoid arthritis. Read as we discuss how having RA could influence your oral health.

How are RA and our oral health linked?

Since almost a century ago, researchers have hypothesised a link between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis, but the picture has only recently grown more clear. According to current thought, some oral bacteria that are known to cause periodontal disease may also act as a RA trigger. Your oral health may contribute to the onset or aggravation of joint pain symptoms.

It's possible that the same microorganisms cause RA and dental disease-related inflammation. Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans has been identified by researchers as the cause of periodontal disease and chronic gum inflammation. In essence, the bacteria causes the synthesis of mutated proteins, which the immune system mistakes for foreign substances and assaults. The inflammatory response to the bacterium, according to scientists, may disseminate throughout the body and cause RA symptoms.

In addition to this, the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint, or TMJ) that opens and shuts the mouth can be impacted by arthritis. It is possible for inflammation to develop along the tendons, which can harm the joint and make opening your mouth painful or challenging. 

If you have RA or another type of arthritis, you must be aware of these symptoms. To gain a better view of this joint and determine whether there are any issues with inflammation, some types of x-rays can be helpful. By using a bite guard at night, you might lessen your TMJ symptoms.

Even while the link between periodontal disease and RA is widely acknowledged in the medical field, it is still only a theory. We are aware that oral flora might affect rheumatoid arthritis, however, not all patients will experience an A-to-B relationship. In other words, having RA may prevent you from getting gum disease, and vice versa. Also, since RA symptoms can take years to manifest, it's likely that someone with periodontal disease had it for ten years prior to receiving a diagnosis of RA without realising the connection.

How to maintain better oral health?

Make sure to brush and floss your teeth on a regular basis because your oral health can affect your bodily health. Go to a battery-powered toothbrush with a large grip if gripping a traditional toothbrush is painful or difficult. Smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco can exacerbate oral health issues. 

Immunosuppressive drug users may experience problems with oral bacterial infections. Swelling around your tooth or over your jaw, excruciating pain, a fever, and swollen nodes surrounding your jaw are all indications of infections. 

Regular dental visits are important, as are discussions with your doctor and rheumatologist about any new issues that may be affecting your oral health.

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Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.


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