Patients with rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to suffer tooth loss due to periodontal disease, finds study.
Rheumatoid arthritis causes the immune system to attack healthy tissue in the joints, leading to inflammation and loss of bone and cartilage. This results in a painful condition which impacts normal joint function.
"Not only did the gum disease influence joint tissues, but arthritis also influenced tissues in the mouth," said doctoral candidate Melissa Cantley, who worked with colleagues at the University of Adelaide.
"The relationship between these two common diseases is very complex and we can now use this model to further our understanding," said Melissa, whose doctoral supervisors are David Haynes, associate professor and Bartold Mark, professor, at Adelaide.
The research 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, according to an Adelaide statement.
Clinical studies are underway to determine if treatment of periodontitis can help reduce the symptoms tied to arthritis. Cantley is one of 12 early-career scientists who are using this knowledge to investigate whether treating mouth conditions could help relieve arthritis.