Over the years, researchers have been able to demonstrate the importance of oral health in relation to systemic, or overall, health. Keeping up with oral hygiene has been shown to not only affect the oral cavity, but also various areas in the body. Oral health has been linked to the prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and various other conditions. Researchers have been well aware of the strong association between oral health and these health conditions, but continue to look into the root cause and mechanisms that result in these links.
However, a research group at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry Oral Health and Systemic Diseases recently published their findings in PloS Pathogens, revealing the bacterium that is responsible for periodontal disease. They found that the bacterium, Prophromonas gingivalis, leads to a faster progression of gum disease, increasing cartilage and bone destruction. Their research indicated that P. gingivalis produces an enzyme, peptidylarginine deiminanse (PAD), which increases collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). This enzyme makes the body believe that there are intruding proteins within the body, inducing an immune attack. This results in chronic inflammation, which accounts for the weakening of bone and cartilage within the joints.
This research group was able to show that there is a viable link between P. gingivalis periodontal infection and rheumatoid arthritis; however, more research needs to be done to verify these finds. Hopefully further research can bring about new strategies to prevent RA. These studies also should encourage individuals to maintain good oral hygiene. It is always important to keep in mind that brushing and flossing not only keeps the mouth clean, but also keeps the entire body healthy. Please feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or firstname.lastname@example.org