There are many conditions which can affect people’s oral health, and at Southern Cross Dental in Colorado Springs, we want our patients to know what they’re up against. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder that is common in people with gum disease, and scientists are learning more about why.
A Johns Hopkins study found gum disease in 35% of the general population but 70% of people with RA. While people with difficulty moving their hands might be expected to have higher rates of gum disease due to worse oral hygiene, that’s not the whole story. Gingivitis is common even in people with RA who are still able to brush and floss regularly. For answers, scientists compared the DNA and protein structure of gum tissue and synovium, the lining of the joints. RA causes the immune system to attack synovium, resulting in swelling, and it turned out that synovium and gum tissue share a lot of traits.
RA is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Smoking puts people at increased risk for it. Preliminary studies show that good oral hygiene can still help people with RA to fight gum disease, making it especially important for them to get regular cleanings.
Drs. Navid and Faranak Rahimpour operate Southern Cross Dental at 1855 S Nevada Ave, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80905-2516. To schedule an appointment, call 719-471-1717 or visit Southern Cross Family Dentistry and fill out a contact sheet.