Wimbledon Clinics

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Gum Disease May Heighten RA Risk

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Periodontitis, or gum disease, is a condition characterised by inflammation and infection of the ligaments and bones supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease can trigger changes in the body and is believed to make a person more susceptible to other health problems. According to researchers from the University of Glasgow, periodontitis may increase the risk of a person developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA) later in life, Arthritis Research UK has reported.

Led by Dr. David Lappin, the research team came to that conclusion after the analysis of plaque and serum samples obtained from 75 subjects. Among those, 36 had no health problems and 39 were receiving treatment for periodontitis. The second group included 16 people infected with Porphyromonas gingivalis – a bacterium that causes periodontal disease.

The analysis showed that individuals suffering from periodontitis had higher levels of anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibodies. These are cells regularly found in blood samples from patients afflicted with RA or people seen at risk of developing RA in the future.

The results of the study have been published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology. The findings have led the researchers to conclude that periodontitis could play a role in the initiation and further development of RA. An insight into this relationship will prove vital for delivering better preventative strategies and treatments, both for each disease and a combination of the two, the report adds.

The discovery could prove important in light of the high incidence of periodontal disease, Arthritis Research UK notes. Between 10% and 15% of the global population is estimated to suffer from periodontitis.