Is Poor Oral Health Linked to Rheumatoid Arthritis?


At Caffaratti Dental Group, we understand that oral health is linked to overall health, including its impact on rheumatoid arthritis (RA), as well as other diseases. As premiere dental providers in the Reno/Sparks area, we are on the front lines of dental science, focused on providing you the innovative services and support you need to live a happier, healthier life.

Why Poor Oral health and Tooth Loss Impacts Arthritis


Medical researchers have long known that poor oral health affects the body. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates even speculated that pulling teeth might cure arthritis. Of course, it doesn’t, but it is interesting that over a thousand years ago, he realized there was a link between oral health and arthritis. Recent studies have gone further than he could have ever imagined.

New research has shown that the connection between oral health and rheumatoid arthritis may be stronger than previously known, even in modern medicine. Two major international studies, for instance, showed that periodontal disease more than doubles the risk of joint diseases such as arthritis.

Researchers demonstrated that people with rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, are 8 times as likely to also have periodontal disease. Simply put, if you have rheumatoid arthritis, you are much more likely to also experience periodontal disease, and vice versa.

In fact, one study showed that the more teeth you lose to poor oral health, the more likely you are to not only have RA. Not only that, but it is also linked to how severe your arthritis may become.

FAQs About Oral Health and Arthritis

What is Inflammation?

Inflammation is your body’s way of fighting off foreign invaders. As part of your immune response, your body sends chemicals and substances to protect itself. Blood flow also increases to the area, creating swelling, warmth and redness. The inflammation itself however, can create damage to tissue. It also causes pain because it puts pressure on sensitive nerves. It can also lead to tooth loss.

Why is There a Connection Between the Health of Your Mouth and the Health of Your Joints?

The answer may be a common pathway between joint and oral tissues, and the disease processes like inflammation that they share. For example, the types of tissues in your mouth share certain characteristics, including the kinds of specific cells that cause inflammation and disease. Certain proteins which are known to promote inflammation (such as interleukin-1, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor), can be found in both RA and periodontal disease.

How Does Good Oral Health Help the Entire Body?

Your mouth is full of harmful bacteria. By flossing and brushing daily, you can reduce your risk of oral infections, cavities and gum disease. Research has shown that certain bacteria found in your mouth may play a role in many kinds of diseases, including arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure, high cholesterol and others.

Bleeding Gums Can Spread Bacteria

Moreover, when your gums become infected and bleed, it can allow the bacteria to spread into other areas of your body such as your heart. Research is ongoing, but it is safe to say that there is a much tighter relationship between diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, and others such as heart attack, diabetes and stroke than ever before known. What we do know though, is that regular dental visits and good periodontal care may reduce your risk for other diseases.

Caffaratti Dental Group Can Help You have a Lovely, Healthy Smile

We are leading experts in all areas of dental care. To learn more about the links between oral health and rheumatoid arthritis and other forms of disease, please contact our Sparks, Nevada Dental Office. Dr. Caffaratti would be happy to evaluate your oral health and develop a strategy that gives you something to really smile about. Call today to get the smile you have always dreamed of (and maybe improve your overall health in the process).