Oral systemic health is the connection between oral health and our overall health and at Hartwell Dentistry this is the cutting edge of dentistry that we are at the forefront of. Today we will be discuss Rheumatoid arthritis and the link with oral health. 

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. Our body’s immune system is designed to protect our health by attacking foreign cells or substances like a viruses or bacteria. Rheumatoid arthritis causes our immune system to mistakenly attack our joints, thinking they are something foreign we need protecting against.

This then creates inflammation in the joints due the the lining of the joints thickening. In turn, this causes swelling and pain around the joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis usually affects the joints of the hands, feet, wrists, elbow, knees and ankles. This disease commonly is symmetrical, meaning if it is has affected one hand it will affect the other.

This disease is progressive and tends to get worse with time.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease. This means that it affects your entire body and including our cardiovascular system and respiratory system. So where does our oral health come in?

How oral health is connected to Rheumatoid arthritis?

Recent scientific research is linking the inflammation and bacteria found in periodontal disease to systemic health issues such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. This link is also found between the inflammation in patients with Rheumatoid arthritis.

Patients that suffer from Rheumatoid arthritis are at a higher risk of also having periodontitis.

It is important that sufferers of Rheumatoid arthritis consult not only with their GP but with their dentist and oral health therapist as well.

There is no magic wand for treating periodontal disease. It requires ongoing professional maintenance care coupled with good home habits to help control the disease and its effect on the whole body.

How to help prevent inflammation

There are many different types of medications that are available to treat Rheumatoid arthritis, however these usually just help relieve the pain and discomfort caused by the inflammation, they do not treat the underlying disease process.

However nutrition can help!

> Omega 3 fish oil (it may take several months to feel any improvement)

> Omega 6 fatty acid

> Increase intake of olive oil

> Vitamin E and Vitamin B

> Potassium (Coconut water)

> Calcium

> Green tea

> Turmeric supplement

Food allergies have also been found to increase the inflammation activity. Some people have found that avoiding dairy and gluten products eases some symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis.

Hartwell Dentistry is at the forefront of oral health and our general health and there connection. Join us next week where we will be discussing more about how our oral health is related to our overall health.