Living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can be tough, and you may have to deal with a lot of painful days. However, taking steps to care for your health despite RA is important to avoiding other serious, painful issues. One of the problems many RA sufferers deal with is periodontal disease. While dental and medical professionals are unsure why RA sufferers also have trouble with gum disease, the link has been found to be reoccurring in a large portion of people with this form of arthritis. Learn more about periodontal disease and what you can do about it.
RA and Gum Disease Have Inflammation in Common
One link researchers have found between RA and gum disease is the level of inflammation involved in both conditions. RA is an autoimmune disease that impacts the body's immune system. When the immune system is attacked, it launches an inflammatory response. Because RA compromises the immune system, it causes greater inflammation, causing the immune system to become overactive. Some researchers believe oral health problems like gum disease can be caused by an overactive immune system that reacts to plaque buildup, cavities, and abscesses.
Oral Hygiene and Dental Treatments Are Important
Making visits to your dentist a high priority is important for catching issues like gum disease early. Take steps to care for your oral health at home.
- Think about your arthritic hands: Choose toothpaste in pump containers so you never put off brushing because you dread squeezing a tube of paste with your sore hands. Also, avoid traditional dental floss you have to hold with both hands. You can choose dental floss picks that are lightweight as well as easy to use and hold.
- Increase fluoride protection for your teeth: Fluoride helps to reduce tartar that causes cavities. Cavities can result in infection that can cause an overactive immune system to attack. Choose mouthwash that contains additional fluoride for helping to lower the risk of cavities on your teeth.
- Avoid bad habits: Avoid smoking tobacco, as it has been found to increase the risk of gum disease. Also, avoid eating too many sugary foods. When you do eat a food high in sugar, try to brush your teeth soon after eating to keep down the risk of tooth decay caused by leaving sugary foods trapped between your teeth.
Not allowing RA to control your whole life can make you feel more empowered and in control. Making sure you take control of your health includes caring for your teeth and gums. Discuss the matter with your dentist or one from a dentistry such as Smile City for more tips to help you maintain optimum oral health.