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Inflammation links gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis

Category: General Health

Researchers have long known that inflammation is a marker of systemic reaction to disease and a risk factor for more than one condition, but a recent study demonstrated an even more dramatic link between inflammatory gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis - cure the gum disease and it helps treat the arthritis.

"It was exciting to find that if we eliminated the infection and inflammation in the gums, then patients with a severe kind of active rheumatoid arthritis reported improvement on the signs and symptoms of that disease," said dentist Nabil Bissada, chair of the department of periodontics at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine. "It gives us a new intervention."

The researchers noted that gum disease tends to be prevalent in rheumatoid arthritis patients and both inflammatory diseases are similar in how they progress over time. In both diseases, the soft and hard tissues are destroyed from inflammation caused by toxins from bacterial infection, a process that can be tracked by a number of blood tests for inflammatory markers.

High blood levels of inflammation proteins such as is seen with gum disease have been linked to other diseases such as premature births, heart disease and diabetes.

The research appears in the Journal of Periodontology.ADNFCR-2248-ID-19192143-ADNFCR

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