Gum Disease and RA link?: Hi Went to the dentist this... - NRAS


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Gum Disease and RA link?

ccg123 profile image
49 Replies


Went to the dentist this morning, and found out I am heading towards gum disease. She asked if I smoke which I don’t, and said that I cleaned my teeth very well. I asked if it could be related to arthritis and the dentist was quick to say no. However, I have done a quick google and it seems that there is some kind of link. Just interested to know if anyone else has had any problems with their gums.? Or seen any research about this?



49 Replies
Nsmith13 profile image

Yes I've had loads of problems since being on ra meds have always kept my apps with my dentist but things have really gone worse since diagnosis so let's see if anyone else has had problems ????

ccg123 profile image
ccg123 in reply to Nsmith13

Thanks. I am not taking any medication currently so interesting to know if caused by meds or the disease.

in reply to Nsmith13

Interesting what your dentist says as mine said the opposite and his mum has RA

Frustrating to hear your gums aren't tip top when you look after them. Hmm... so difficult to know what can be attributed to what. When OH first saw Rheum. I had written a list of ?relevant history. It started with 9mths pre diagnosis, dental abscesses. It was disregarded, but I'm not so sure. Was he run down so got the abscesses, quickly followed by RA.? Did one cause another? Is it a red herring. Gum infections allow a heap of bacteria to circulate... If you have oncoming gum disease, is it due to inflammation from RA? It seems that many Rheums stick to what the text book says, i.e. swelling in small joints. There are some papers citing a possible connection to dental problems, because I read them at the time. I wonder what everyone else thinks.

ccg123 profile image

Thanks interesting to hear.

pamsim profile image

Hi, I’m pretty new to all of this being recently diagnosed. However I’ve done nothing but read about RA for the last few months and have read numerous articles about a possible link between gum disease and RA to the point where people diagnosed with gum disease and infected root canals are at risk of developing Rheumatoid Arthritis. My dentist also mentioned it to me last week :(

ccg123 profile image
ccg123 in reply to pamsim

Interesting your dentist mentioned it whereas mine dismissed it straight away. I guess they won’t all know about the possible links

Simba1992 profile image

Found this quite interesting article about the link between RA and gum disease.

ccg123 profile image
ccg123 in reply to Simba1992

Thanks, will have a read!

MissMinto profile image
MissMinto in reply to Simba1992

Very interesting article Simba and nice to see you back - have missed your informative posts! X

Simba1992 profile image
Simba1992 in reply to MissMinto

Thank you for your kind post.xxSimba

pamsim profile image

Yes I was telling her about my recent diagnosis and she said although everything was fine with my teeth/gums at the moment to be extra vigilant as there was a possible link with gum disease !

Doughnut61 profile image

My dentist said the same yesterday 🙁

ccg123 profile image
ccg123 in reply to Doughnut61

Oh, you have it too?

Doughnut61 profile image

Apparently the start of it 🙁

ccg123 profile image
ccg123 in reply to Doughnut61

Sorry to hear that. :(

AgedCrone profile image
AgedCrone in reply to ccg123

Could be coincidence & you would have developed gum disease anyway.

I've had RA since 1999.... Very clued up dentist who took note I have it...& said my teeth/ gums are still fine.

However friend of 50 years who keeps telling me I should stop " all that poison" I take for RA has raging gum disease & has to go to her dentist every three months.

So I think we just need to pay attention to oral hygiene & make sure we have regular dental check ups.

My life long fear has been sure hope I escape them!

Simba1992 profile image

Oil pulling with coconut oil is a good way of protecting your gums and teeth.

sallygrain profile image

Hi all. Very interesting article. Connection between gums and RA is pretty clear. I live in fear of loosing my teeth but as yet they are intact, though hanging on by a thread As gums have raced back from the teeth so much that the roots are exposed and huge pain with hot cold. Dentist wants to hose them out with numbing which i had once - it was hell - i refused as it was so uncomfortable. I clean floss rinse etc etc. Simple answer is dont neglect them

ccg123 profile image
ccg123 in reply to sallygrain

Poor you, sounds horrible.

kit16 profile image

My Dentist asked me to have a word with my consultant,about,the same thing.When I asked him,he just replied no.When I told my dentist,he said,it's very strange,because,he thought there had to be a link between the two.

ccg123 profile image
ccg123 in reply to kit16

Seems to be lots of different opinions from drs/dentists

Julia31 profile image

My dentist and hygienist both said to me that people with RA are susceptible to gum disease.

Maggsie profile image

Since being diagnosed I've lost a number of teeth to peridontal abscess problems. I'm convinced it's linked to the RA and the drug regimen. I do look after my teeth and visit the dentist every 3 months for cleaning etc. but they're slowly disappearing😔

ccg123 profile image
ccg123 in reply to Maggsie


Mmrr profile image

I suspect damage to my teeth from a nasty fall sparked this whole saga of inflammitory arthritis off for me. We will never know, but 18 months on my teeth and state of joints, general health all seem to be correlated.

My dentist suspects so to. Good oral hygiene helps.

Clairepavlov profile image

I might be on the wrong track here, but sjorgen's disease is potentially linked to gingivititis/peridontal disease, and I have been told by my rheumy that those with RA and other autoimmune conditions are more likely to have or develop sjorgen's diease? I am very new to this whole area of discussion, still being on the journey of finding out what is actually wrong with me (Lupus, RA, both, not sure yet, just know it's bloody horrible!) so this may be something I have misunderstood. I have gum inflammation, had it for a while. My dentist doesn't consider it to be significant or worrisome, or linked with RA, but by the sounds of it, that doesn't mean much! I definitely find when my flare-ups increase throughout my body, it includes my gums, which itch like mad.

Jan101050 profile image
Jan101050 in reply to Clairepavlov

Interesting the link with sjorgens disease. I have been diagnosed with this . Have chronic dry I and dry mouth. The dry mouth does play a part in dental problems. Seemingly salvia helps with maintaining good gum health. I have a special toothpaste I clean my teeth with and sip water constantly. I wear a mouth guard at night which seems to help Medication also plays a part in having a dry mouth. I have PSA and have had this arthritis for many years. So far gums are ok but who knows what the future will bring !

ccg123 profile image
ccg123 in reply to Jan101050

That’s interesting, I wear a mouthguard for TMJ but find it makes my mouth dry

Jan101050 profile image
Jan101050 in reply to ccg123

I also clench my teeth so the mouthguard also protects my teeth. It's a bit of a catch twenty two and there is a lot of that with this disease !

TMJ is very painful . Amitripytaline has been prescribed for some people to relax the muscles. Have you tried this ?

ccg123 profile image
ccg123 in reply to Jan101050

I tried amitripytaline but didn’t work for me. Only thing that sorted it out was the mouthguard.

Marycullen profile image

When I was on Remicade I had problems with my gums. They receded. After I got off of Remicade my gums went back to normal. I don’t know what you were on but that was my case. All the other Biologics have never bothered my teeth or gums

Aussiebird87 profile image

If there is a link to RA, it is quite interesting as my mother had RA, lost all her teeth to gum disease. My older sister has RA and has gum disease. I haven't been diagnosed with RA as yet, still time, but I do have an autoimmune disease, so on steroids for nearly 2 years. Last year I was told I have gum disease, I always looked after my teeth, but over the years have lost a few...I always felt it was hereditary as I am developing illnesses my mum had around my age, also my sister. I have always seen a dentist every 6 months, but now that I have gum disease, I am seeing an hygienist regularly as well.

ccg123 profile image

Interesting to know how many people without RA etc have gum disease

jomojo profile image

Interesting discussion and article. I've just been to my rheumatologist today and she asked me if I had problems with teeth as Im having awful jaw pain flares.

I don't take any DMARD's, just about to begin Methotrexate and hydroxycloriquin.

I've had issues with one tooth which has been an unresolved problem for years and several dentists and three to six monthly check ups later, still not really resolved. Food constantly trapped in an awkward gap. And now I've been told I have receeding gums and gum disease developing after a gum abcess appeared. My dentistit said that it is more the meds and antibiotics awarness with RA why dentists take an interest not because there is a link ? I'm told my oral hygene is exceptionally good too?

Bodies and immune responses are very complex aren't they? There are so many issues and so many questions, coincidences and symptoms it's hard to pinpoint 100% I suppose?

CAROLINE23RED profile image

I wonder if you dentist mixed up RA with OA? So many people do. I go to hygienist every three months because I have a fixed retainer, touch wood think my gums are ok, but have had mouth ulcers when having a bad flare 😢. This damn disease...

Jaxan profile image

My previous hygienist said the inflammation in my body from the RA could well attribute to poor gum health and she helped me with the program I now use, cleaning teeth with home made toothpaste (with coconut oil) and using Hydrogen peroxide to clean between teeth and rinse mouth. My new hygienist (of 5 years) is amazed at how clean and clear my gums are. 4 monthly appointments reveal almost no plaque!

Since that first realisation that I could impact my health (over 15 years ago) I have made steady progress in the RA. Largely a fresh Turmeric, ginger, black pepper and Coconut oil mix taken daily along with eating a more alkalising diet. Lots of research!

ccg123 profile image
ccg123 in reply to Jaxan

Wow thanks for those tips! Good to know

Peachbby profile image

There is an association, but don't know if the egg or the chicken came first. I know that Methotrexate can have a havoc on your gums/mucosa as one of the side effects is inflammation of the mouth/lips. I got an abscess in 2012 under a gold cap that I got around 1980's. This happened after I got the flu shot 2 weeks before. I had to get a root canal, which I know is not a good thing to get. I found out that when a person with RA get flu shot it can make your RA worse, and it did. It took me 2 years for the symptoms to quiet down again. I don't take flu shots anymore. I know my gums bleed even with regular flossing which I attribute to both Methotrexate and Plaquenil. These reduce your immune defenses, so you're at higher risk for gum disease and anything else that your immune system cannot fight. I rather have a little pain/swelling with fairly good function, than to have such a low immune function that can lead to cancer, infections, heart disease, etc. It is a personal choice however what medications you're willing to take. I've been on Methotrexate and Plaquenil since 2005. I got off the Prednisone and I'm not going to keep taking different medications as long as I can function (meaning being independent and still working). I did feel better with taking antioxidants, especially Astazanthin.

RxMe profile image

A case of chicken vs. egg. I was diagnosed with RA about a month after treatment for a severely infected root canal. While a number of red flags had been popping up for a while, it was only after a double dose of antibiotics and the raging dental infection that my labs came up with a strongly positive anti-CCP. Coincidence? I think not!

My dentist is adamant there is a link with gum disease and also with root canal fillings. There is information on how bad they are for our welbeing and my dentists view is that they are impossible to do perfectly leaving no gaps. I have now had a tooth that Had been root canal filled and was a constant gum infection inflammation area removed.

Peachbby profile image
Peachbby in reply to

You found a dentist that would do that? So do you have an implant now?

in reply to Peachbby

No - definitely cannot have implants without bone transplant which I’m not having! I just have a gap. It’s near the back so can’t be seen. It Took me a long time to make the decision to remove it but decided a combination of pain and the impact of ongoing infection and antibiotics made it the right choice

medway-lady profile image
medway-lady in reply to

Yes you can, I have good teeth no gum problems but a few years ago lost front tooth to a playground swing. I've had a bridge but going to have implantts now and for that I had an xray and confirmation its ok. The bone transplant or was it to be done with blood isolated prodect is a good money making venture. I was told twice I needed that but my implant specialist said no in fact 1 is fine and we'll attach a bridge for the other tooth. So from £4500 to £3000 it was a no brainer and he is highly recommended.

Harvey0279 profile image

For years the dentist kept telling me that i brushed my teeth too hard causing my gums to receed but I knew I wasn’t I always made sure i looked after my teeth. Never had anything done to my teeth no fillings nothing and then all of a sudden I’m diagnosed with RA age 30 which I think explains the bad gums. I believe there is definitely a link and why the dentist makes sure you tell them what medication your on x i do think there are clear signs early on with the RA.

Bella-Rose profile image

I have had my autoimmune disease for 27 years. My gums are basically gone as is the underlying bone. A lot of gum and tooth decay can be brought on by the use of cortisteroids and immunosuppressants.

VeronicaF profile image

I had a cap and root done at the back tooth same side I get jaw pain, it all startd from jaw pain

I don't know how many times I have been back saying something wrong with that tooth, will he have it, no, he says its a good job he has done.

Sunflower1921 profile image

Hi I do have the same as you, gum disease with r.a. my dentist said it can go hand in hand. he said to carry on with Sensydine toothpaste with rapid relief , it works for me in 4 seconds. I carry some in my handbag and if it starts I rub abit on. worth a try. let me know how it goes. x

liveinwoods profile image

A few months before being diagnosed with RA I was on vacation and got an infected salivary gland in my mouth. My mouth swelled up like crazy and I had to go to the ER. Took strong antibiotics for 10 days followed by oral surgery to remove the affected gland. The specimen was sent to the lab and I was told it indicated I had an inflammatory disease. That was the beginning of my diagnosis. I would think that gums would be affected in the same way as my salivary gland. Makes sense to me.

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