Results of a new study suggesting the risk for gum disease is higher for people with rheumatoid arthritis was recently published online in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.
The goal of the study was to find the strength of association between periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in nonsmoking patients, that had not been treated with arthritis drugs, in a case-control design, the authors wrote.
Disease activity was quantified using a specific score and by measuring levels of inflammatory markers. Nearly 65% of patients with RA had evidence of gum disease, compared with 28% of their healthy peers.
“[Gum disease] is more common and severe in rheumatoid arthritis patients than in healthy controls… and could be a potential environmental trigger in the [development] and also in the maintenance of systemic inflammation in [the disease].” the study authors concluded.
Although the study found an association between RA and the prevalence of gum disease, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
Source: Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 71(9):1541-4.