Common gum disease may be linked to severe arthritis: study

Nearly 60 per cent of the world's population is affected by periodontitis.

Written by Agencies | Melbourne | Published: October 16, 2012 5:49 pm

Researchers have discovered strong evidence of a link between a common type of gum disease and severe arthritis.

Researchers from the Adelaide University in Australia found that mice with gum disease – periodontitis – developed significantly worse arthritis than those without gum disease.

Nearly 60 per cent of the world’s population is affected by periodontitis,a disease that results in red,inflamed gums and loss of bone and tissues that support the teeth.

“Studies in humans have already shown that patients with rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to suffer greater tooth loss than those without rheumatoid arthritis,” researcher Melissa Cantley said.

“We’ve now been able to replicate those conditions in laboratory studies,by inducing both gum disease and arthritis in mice,to better understand how one disease influences another,” she said.

“We found that the mice with gum disease developed significantly worse arthritis than those without gum disease,confirming our suspicions,” she said in a statement.

“Both conditions are the result of inflammatory responses in the body,and our research shows that both are uniquely linked,” researcher Melissa Cantley said.

The study also found signs of bone loss in the joints of mice with gum disease alone,and bone loss in the jaws of mice with arthritis alone.

“So not only did the gum disease influence the joint tissues,but arthritis influenced tissues in the mouth,” Cantley said.

Clinical studies are now underway to determine if treating periodontitis can help to reduce the symptoms associated with arthritis.

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