Around 1.3 million people in the United States have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body’s tissues. This causes painful inflammation which can affect your joints — and in some people can even affect the skin, eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels. Something you may not realize is that oral health can have an effect on rheumatoid arthritis. Knowing this, it’s important to learn how to keep a healthy smile to promote an overall healthier you and help alleviate RA symptoms.
How are they connected?
Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. It’s typically caused by poor brushing and flossing habits. If left untreated, it can spread to the bones surrounding the gums, making it painful to chew. In the worst cases, teeth may become loose or need to be removed.
Bacteria caused by gum disease can escape from the mouth through damaged gum tissue, entering the bloodstream and traveling to sites throughout the body. This can lead to more inflammation in the body, triggering RA symptoms.
How can you help manage it?
Improving your dental care may help to reduce the effects of RA. This can be done in many ways:
- Brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day.
- See your dentist bi-annually for routine checkups.
- Inform your dentist about your RA so they can be sure to watch for signs of gum disease.
Schedule your routine checkup today to stay on top of your oral health!