I think that it’s fair to say that we all suffer from joint pains once in a while and those of us who are a bit long in the tooth, so to speak, can all attest to the joint stiffness we can feel on those certain days when the weather just doesn’t cooperate.
Arthritis is a very common concern that many of us deal with as we age. We all have been told to watch our weight, exercise, and stay away from certain foods which can aggravate the condition. However, new evidence is revealing a newer concern regarding arthritis and our general health.
According to new research, your degree of oral health can impact the progression and severity of rheumatoid arthritis. According to research published in PLOS Pathogens, the bacteria in your mouth which can accumulate over time have a direct impact on the progression and severity of this rather nasty form of arthritis.
The study author, Dr. J. Potempa, suggests that “both diseases (gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis) share astonishingly similar clinical features. A common denominator for both diseases is the fact that the frustrated immune system is attacking its own tissues, eventually leading to tooth loss and severe disfiguration and crippling of joint functions with RA.”
This experiment involved introducing a human pathogen, porphyromonas gingivalis, to a mouse model.There was an accelerated pathological progression, earlier onset and advanced level of joint inflammation, and joint destruction. The researchers surmise that the bacteria induced an auto-immune reaction which cross-reacted with the proteins in the joints of the mice. This pathogen can affect certain proteins in the body which become targets of an enhanced immune response which is primed by the higher levels of inflammation present at the time. When these proteins are deposited in the joint structures, the immune system mounts an attack which causes the associated pathology behind rheumatoid arthritis.
“These proteins are found up to 10 years preceding the first clinical symptoms of RA,” noted Dr. Potempa.
Indeed, our level of oral health does have a dramatic effect upon the health of our bodies! Chronic infections of the teeth and gums involving the periodontal structures have also been associated with various types of infections affecting the cardiovascular system, liver, and brain.
Keeping your teeth clean by regular, gentle brushing, flossing, and cleansing the mouth with a standard antibacterial mouthwash is prudent advice, whether you have arthritis or not. Oral bacteria can certainly up-regulate an immune system which, in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, is hyper-reactive. These bacteria-protein immune complexes can be found in joint structures producing an exaggerated inflammatory response.
In my opinion, practicing good oral health hygiene is a very important step in the improvement of your overall health status.
Source(s) for Today’s Article:
Elias, N.,“The Crazy New Reason You Need to Floss,” Preventionweb site; http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/link-between-gum-disease-and-rheumatoid-arthritis,last accessed October 1, 2013.
Potempa, J., et al., “Porphyromonas gingivalis Facilitates the Development and Progression of Destructive Arthritis through Its Unique Bacterial Peptidylarginine Deiminase (PAD),”PLoS Pathog 9(9): e1003627.