rheumatoid arthritisDo you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis (RA)? New research shows that regular visits to the dentist may just be what the doctor ordered. In a recent study conducted at Case Western University in Cleveland, OH, 40 people with severe RA symptoms (i.e. fatigue, fever, weight loss, stiffness, and tender, swollen joints) were split into two groups. The first group was given a deep dental cleaning (where bacteria was scraped from the root surface, as well as under the gum line. They also removed tartar from their teeth. The second group went home with specific directions on how to keep their teeth clean (no dental cleaning provided). Six weeks later… the group that received professional dental cleaning reported experiencing less pain, stiffness, and fewer swollen, painful joints than the second group. Researchers also discovered that the deep cleaning decreased levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha, which is a protein in the blood that triggers inflammation.

A second study was performed at University Hospitals of Cleveland, to investigate the relationship between periodontal disease (gum disease) and RA. For this study… the researchers split 40 people into four groups – all with both severe RA and moderate to severe periodontal disease. Two groups were given drugs that block tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) production. The other two groups did not receive these medications. Researchers provided standard periodontal treatment to one set of participants from both the drug and non-drug groups during the study. RA symptoms improved for all patients receiving the periodontal treatment, whether they were on the anti-TNF-alpha drug or not. Those who did receive TNF inhibitors showed a greater improvement.

Professional_Dental_CleaningIf you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and/ or periodontal disease… the Dental Partners of 5th Avenue may be able to help you. DP5th offers a wide variety of services, which includes treating periodontal disease. It’s important that you schedule regular cleanings with your dentist. Proper dental care can make your smile look and feel great… and it can also improve your overall health. Contact us to set-up an appointment today.