Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an intricate autoimmune condition, poses various challenges for those affected. While many are familiar with how RA impacts joints and energy levels, fewer realize its connection to oral health. Gum disease, gum inflammation, and tooth loss have been found to correlate with RA, establishing a compelling link between the two. Although the exact mechanisms of this relationship are still being explored, research indicates that fewer teeth and compromised oral health increase the susceptibility to RA.

Teeth, Gums, and Joints: A Growing Body of Evidence 

Decades of research have underscored the strong association between oral health and the development of rheumatoid arthritis throughout life. A notable study from 1987 to 1998 examined over 6,000 individuals, revealing that serious gum disease doubled the likelihood of meeting RA criteria compared to those with healthy gums and teeth.

A 2012 paper presented at the European Congress of Rheumatology further solidified this connection. It highlighted that individuals with fewer teeth were more prone to developing RA, with those having the least teeth experiencing the most severe—and least treatable—rheumatoid arthritis.

Treating Our Mouths to Alleviate RA Symptoms 

The link between oral health and RA offers a promising perspective. Patients with RA or early RA symptoms may potentially protect themselves by prioritizing their dental care. A 2009 study indicated that engaging in good periodontal care could reduce the severity of RA symptoms. By seeking dental treatment for periodontitis and gum disease, individuals may alleviate the joint pain and fatigue that become daily struggles for RA patients.

Moreover, recent research suggests that taking proactive measures is even more beneficial. Waiting for severe RA symptoms is unnecessary; we can take action now by focusing on our oral health. The healthier our gums and teeth, the better protected we are from RA. Staying vigilant in fighting gum disease, gum recession, and tooth decay improves our chances of leading an RA-free life.

Embrace your journey to oral health by scheduling your next appointment with our Waldorf office today. Together, we can fortify your oral health and potentially safeguard you from the impact of rheumatoid arthritis. Don’t wait for symptoms to escalate; take control of your well-being now and pave the way to a healthier, more vibrant life.

Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS
Phone: (301) 638-4867
601 Post Office Rd., Suite 1-B
Waldorf , MD 20602