Rheumatoid arthritis is the form of joint disease that’s caused by the immune system thinking joint tissues are foreign proteins and attacks those tissues. Researchers now theorize that in some cases, Rheumatoid arthritis may get its start in the mouth. If a person has gum disease (gingivitis), caused by a certain bacteria (Porphyromonas ginvivalis), they may develop rheumatoid arthritis later in life.
Here’s how they think it happens:
1. People who have rheumatoid arthritis have an autoimmune response to citrullinated proteins
2. Porphyromonas gingivalis bacteria produces an enzyme that produces citrullinated proteins
3. The body then produces antibodies for these citrullinated proteins, which researchers theorize may lead to Rheumatoid arthritis, later in life. In other words: The body’s immune system thinks the citrullinated proteins in your joints are foreign, then creates antibodies for those citrullinated proteins which then attacks joint tissue, which leads to rheumatoid arthristis.
Many studies have indicated that poor oral health may be linked to a number of health issues including heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer. This study shows rheumatoid arthritis may also get its start with poor oral health. That’s one more reason to visit your dentist regularly and brush your teeth and floss daily. Your future joints may thank you.