Science

Rheumatoid Arthritis Can Be Caused By Gum Disease?

By Kristen Hortaleza , Dec 28, 2016 12:02 PM EST

The autoimmune joint disorder, Rheumatoid Arthritis is presumed to be linked to gum disease. A research from the Science Translational Medicine discovered that the bacteria responsible for gum disease can also create inflammation in Rheumatoid Arthritis.

RA is a condition where the body's immune cells attack joints, thereby causing pain, swelling and stiffness. A previous research mentioned that tooth loss can be a marker for gum disease. Researchers have also stated that the more teeth lost is equivalent to a higher risk for joint inflammation.

As reported by Medical Daily, researchers found that the gum fluid of those with gum disease contained high levels of Citrullinated proteins. As for those with Rheumatic Arthritis, abnormal levels of Citrullinated proteins have been noted to cause a response in the immune system. People with RA's immune response is to produce antibodies called anti-citrullinated pepties (anti-CCP).

Also, NBC reports that a bacteria called Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, also known as "A a" found in gum disease is also found in clients with RA. Hence, the citrullination damage is created. The bacteria work by damaging the neutrophils, which causes the immune system to attack it. Dr. Felipe Andrade, a rheumatologist at John Hopkins reported that they have identified the bacteria in almost 50 percent of the patients with RA.

Andrade stated that prevention is the best way to avoid any disease. Therefore, an effort to improve oral hygiene will prevent the development of diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis. Though the culprit has been identified, researchers are still uncertain of how the bacteria exactly trigger RA.

The condition has no cure and known treatments usually supress the immune system, making Rheumatoid Arthritis patients vulnerable to infectious diseases and cancer. The development of the disease takes a long time and by that time, Antibiotics may not be a great option for patients. This goes back to Andrade's advice to be proactive and focus on the disease prevention.

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