A recently published Case University study ( Journal of Periodontology, april 2009) discussed a new treatment option for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. The study showed that people who suffer from periodontal (gum) disesase and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) reduced their arthritic pain, number of swollen joints and the degree of morning stiffness with non sugical periodontal therapy. The lead author of the study Dr. Nabil Bissada D.D.S. was quote as saying ” It was exciting to find that if we eliminated the infection and inflammation in the gums, then the patients with a severe kind of active rheumatoid arthritis reported improvement in the signs and symptoms of that disease. He also added that ” The effects of chronic infammation and infection of the gums are not confined to the mouth. Periodontal inflammation can also be a risk factor for patients wo are susceptible to disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and heart disease. All this evidence makes a clear case that physicians and dentists need to be working together to the best benefits of our patients.
Important support for the oral/sytemic disease link came recently from a Columbia University study. The study found that people with periodontal disease were more likely to have increased levels of inflammation. This inflammation has been shown to be a significant risk factor in Cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown that treatment of periodontal disease will reduce the risk factors (inflammatory mediators circulating in the blood stream). The Columbia University study involved 421 individuals and the results were published in the American Journal of Cardiology.