Periodontal disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) share a complex relationship with one another. Both of these chronic conditions cause increased inflammation in the body. Both can lead to serious damage, especially if a patient does not seek prompt, effective treatment. However, the connection between these potentially destructive illnesses does not end with the similarity of symptoms. If you have either periodontal disease or RA, you may benefit from learning more about the links between the two. Greenwood Dental can walk you through the process and show you how our dental procedures can help. Specifically, our periodontal therapy may be just what you need.
Periodontal disease or periodontitis is an inflammation of the gum tissue in the mouth. Patients with periodontal disease most often experience swelling, redness, sensitivity, and/or painful, bleeding gums. They will develop pockets where the gums begin to pull away from the teeth. These pockets are more difficult to clean, so they are more prone to infection and bacteria that cause tooth decay properly. Some common signs and symptoms of periodontitis can include:
- Swollen or puffy gums
- Bright red, dusky red or purplish gums
- Gums that feel tender when touched
- Gums that bleed easily
- Pink-tinged toothbrush after brushing
- Spitting out blood when brushing or flossing your teeth
- Bad breath
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Loose teeth or loss of teeth
- Painful chewing
- New spaces developing between your teeth
- Gums that pull away from your teeth (recede), making your teeth look longer than normal
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
If not treated regularly, periodontal disease will worsen over time and can lead to tooth and bone loss. Taking care of your gums is as important as taking care of your teeth. Without healthy gums, even the cleanest and healthiest tooth may be lost. Fortunately, gum disease is very treatable. By scheduling regular appointments with Greenwood Dental at 855.528.3961, you can stay on top of your oral health and monitor your gums.
Rheumatoid Arthritis or RA is a chronic autoimmune disease where the protective immune response is triggered when no harmful viruses or bacteria are present. With no pathogens to attack, the white blood cells instead attack the joints, leading to pain, swelling, stiffness, and eventually deterioration of the joints. Since RA often affects the small joints of the hands and wrists, many patients have difficulty maintaining proper brushing and flossing habits. With less effective dental hygiene, patients with RA are at increased risk of developing, or worsening, periodontal disease. Moreover, in a recent study, scientists looked at the effects of the bacterium porphyromonas gingivalis, which causes periodontal disease. They found that this bacterium can lead to earlier onset, more rapid progression of symptoms, and increased severity of RA. Fortunately, it was also discovered that successful treatment for periodontal disease could reduce RA pain and other symptoms. If you have RA and are having difficulty maintaining your oral hygiene due to stiff, painful joints, consider these simple ideas:
- Add a tennis ball or bicycle handlebar grip to make your toothbrush easier to hold.
- Try replacing ordinary string floss with a water flosser that may be easier to hold and manipulate.
- Use a pump-style toothpaste dispenser to avoid the need to squeeze and roll a small tube.
- Have professional cleanings at least 2-3 times each year.
- Schedule a periodontal screening annually.
- Ask your dental hygienist for more ideas on making your daily regimen work for you.
Treating Periodontal Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis at Greenwood Dental
Greenwood Dental provides comprehensive dental services to patients in Lake County, IL. If you’re dealing with periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis, then we can help. Also, we offer numerous general and cosmetic dentistry procedures, such as:
- Porcelain Veneers
- Fluoride Treatment
- Teeth Whitening
- Tooth-Colored Fillings
- Dental Cleanings