Anybody have any evidence of peridontal disease being linked to RA, or vice-versa.

In the space of six months I have gone from a pretty clean state of dental health to being told I have severe peridontal/gum disease. I have an appointment with the rheumatologist in four days, so will see what he says....

12 Replies

  • I am sure it does I've had nothing but trouble with my teeth I'm sure the the levels of inflammation in our bodies cause teeth and gum problems my dentists thinks there is a link I have had 2 teeth out because they had become loose and caused a lot of Pain. I had no trouble before RA and when they thought I had PMR and it was proved to be RA after scans I have to go for a deep clean every 3 months and use mouth wash after every meal I've found the best toothpaste oralB pro complete it made a difference I've also got teeth that have discoloured I'm now saving up for some private work it bad enough having RA without a nice smile. I always had nice teeth and this really does upset me how about you have you had to go to a dental hospital I did at first .x

  • My dentist certainly thinks so and I have the gums checked every three months.

    He was also very concerned when I was on Methotrexate and had enormous ulcers all the time. He encouraged me to press for an alternative treatment. (He's a dental tutor, so a bit more academic than most dentists).

  • If you also have a dry mouth you might have Sjogren's Syndrome secondary to RA. Sufferers often experience a sudden decline in oral health due to the lack of saliva, which washes bacteria producing particles away from the teeth.

  • I think I have had Sjorgren's for many years as my mouth has always been very dry. At least now I'm diagnosed the dentists have stopped getting on my case for have lots of fillings! xx

  • I think there was an article about this in the latest NRAS mag

  • Funny you should ask that, I've had RA for 20+ yrs and in the last 4yrs I've had lots of problems with my gums, like you I always looked after my teeth always had good teeth and gums. The dentist said it was because of my RA. I also suffer withan eextremely dry mouth.

  • I am so sorry you are having trouble with your mouth and, as others have said, it could well be linked with RA, particularly if you have a dry mouth caused by either secondary Sjogrens and/or the meds. I have found that my dentist surgery seems now to be more aware of the potential links between RA and gum disease which can only be a good thing.

    But I thought it might encourage you to know that I have found it is possible for things to improve, although maybe I have just been lucky .

    I have secondary Sjogrens and was told many years ago that my gum health was poor and the dentist really frightened me with what he said. However, in recent years things have improved dramatically and I was told my teeth and gums are really healthy now - the dentist even told me that I "have the teeth of a 20 year old" which, since I'm 47, quite made my day!

    Although my mouth continues to be very dry and I have ongoing pain from very sensitive teeth, I feel that the specialist “Biotene” dry mouth toothpaste and mouthwash I have used for several years, have really helped with my improved oral health. They don’t seem to do much to help with the dryness on a daily basis but they contain many of the enzymes which are so important for oral health but which are lacking when there is insufficient saliva production. I’m sure your dentist will be aware of Biotene – it is expensive to buy but it may be that, if your dentist/rheumatologist agree that your gum problems are RA related, your doctor will prescribe it for you – as mine does now - and maybe that will help you.

    Please don’t think I'm not trying to "plug" the mouthwash etc here – I just wanted to sound a note of encouragement that sometimes it is possible for things to get better.

    I really hope you get some answers and that things do improve for you.


  • I dont know if there is a link but since i was diagnosed about 3 years age my theeth have started to crumble! Filling are falling out and some of my teeth have started to crumble. I have lost four filling and the filling that replaced them are starting to crumble now. I go to my dentist every 6 months and look after them. When my Rheumatoid Disease started i got it in my jaw with the result my jaw shifted so much that i couldnt open my mouth wide enough for my dentist to see what is going on so he refered me to a bone specialist to see if something can be done. In the mean time my theeth are rotting away! Is anyone having any problems like this?

  • I have to thank you all for your valauble's made me feel a lot better. I now know (well, pretty certain) that the disastrous state of my teeth and gums is not my fault. I can also go to see the rheumatologist, who has always said 'no connection', armed with 'evidence'.

  • My dentist said that dry mouth can easily lead to periodontal disease, and dry mouth (in the form of mild secondary sjogrens disease) can be really common with any other autoimmune condition. Also many meds contribute to dry mouth.

  • There are plenty of dentists and medical researchers who believe there's a connection. I can post some links to articles if you wish. Trouble is, even if the connection were to be widely recognised - what could we do about it? I read one scholarly article that suggested that Methotrexate might help periodontal disease but other sources seem to think that the drugs we take for RA potentially make periodontal disease worse.

    There doesn't seem to be any treatment for this condition other than a rigorous oral hygiene regime & that doesn't necessarily improve matters, though it can sometimes.

  • Hi Cleckers, I used to have a full set of teeth which were in reasonably good nick. I have RA, Fibro and Sjögrens Syndrome. After being on 25mg MTX for 10 years and 3 years worth of Rituximab infusions, I've now 'lost' all upper molars on my left side upper and 2 on my upper right and one on lower right! I now also have 2 crowns in my incisors - all thanks to RA (so says my Dentist and agreed with by my Rheumy. I can't have a plate to replace what is lost in the chomper dividion as the Sjögrens causes me to develop terrible gums and cheeks as I can't create saliva with the necessary bacteria. RA really SUCKS but we just have to grin and bear it! Hope you get your problems sorted before your teeth explode like mine,

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