Another study links periodontitis and rheumatoid arthritis


Pasadena Texas General Dentist Dr. Nugent discusses

dental health and overall health:

Moderate to severe periodontitis has been linked to the development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) among non-smokers, according to research presented last week at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting in Philadelphia.Researchers from the University of Minnesota set out to determine the risk for developing RA based on periodontitis and to assess the levels of protein-attacking antibodies and rheumatoid factor in these patients. They studied 6,616 people who were a part of a separate epidemiological study who had been examined four times between 1987 and 1998. Each individual was assessed for periodontal disease between 1996 and 1998.

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Each participant was classified as having no, mild, moderate, or severe periodontitis and either prevalent or new rheumatoid arthritis (having been hospitalized with a diagnosis of RA within nine years of their periodontal exam).

The risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis was found to be over twice as high in individuals with moderate to severe periodontitis compared to those with no mild periodontitis. In nonsmokers with moderate to severe periodontitis, the risk of developing RA was even greater than in nonsmokers with no to mild periodontitis.

“Moderate to severe periodontitis may also increase the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis,” Jerry A. Molitor, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor at the University of Minnesota and the study’s principal investigator, said in a press release. In addition, moderate to severe periodontitis may increase the risk of developing a specific type of antibodies associated with more severe, destructive rheumatoid arthritis in smokers.

He concluded that these findings highlight the need for additional research into how periodontitis may predispose to RA and the potential value of dental care in the prevention of RA.

In a separate study published earlier this year, researchers from Romania discovered a comparable relationship between RA and periodontitis.

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