Dental treatment could help soothe the chronic aches and pains of rheumatoid arthritis, a new study reveals.
Research published in the Journal of Periodontology added further weight to the body of evidence on systemic links between oral and overall health.
News of studies linking treatment for gum disease with easing of symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis backs the message of British Dental Health Foundation’s annual National Smile Month campaign (17 May 17 to 16 June), encouraging the nation to ‘Look After Yourself, Brush for Health’.
Research by the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and University Hospitals of Cleveland supports existing reports linking gum disease with arthritic pain and inflammation.
Scientists monitored 40 people with moderate or severe periodontitis and severe rheumatoid arthritis to study the impact of treatments on arthritic pain, which is known to be linked to and inflamed by toxins in the body.
Groups treated with anti-inflammatory drugs or receiving gum disease reported easing of arthritic symptoms. Dental treatment combined with a course of anti-inflammatories yielded the strongest results.
Foundation chief executive Dr Nigel Carter said: ‘This research supports existing evidence which found that extracting painful teeth had a positive impact on arthritic pain.
‘Visiting the dentist is an important part of our overall health routine – especially as research potentially links gum disease to not only arthritis, but heart disease, strokes, diabetes and premature births.’