NRAS
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Can RA affect teeth?

I've had a lot of problems with my teeth lately,all of which I've had sorted but every now and again I get raging toothache,yesterday all my joints swelled up & I was in extreme pain added to this was raging toothache. Today it's gone. I don't understand it. Anyway you can all keep your mince pies I'm not taking any chances! X

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Hi,

If it's any help I get swollen gums on my upper back jaw (under cheekbone) sometimes that I thought was the start of an abcess or tooth problems. But it comes and goes. When I mentioned it to my consultant he smiled and said yes RA can occur anywhere along inner or outer jaw. Needless to say I haven't had it for a while as other bits are swelling now, but I'm sure it will find it's way back again!

I seem to recall something I read about either RA or meds causing tooth decay, but I'm not sure, you know what it's like, sometimes I think I've read or heard the strangest of things. I blame the tablets!!!!!

Hope you sort it.

Regards

Trudi

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Thanks for the reply. I'm only taking hydroxy at the moment I haven't started the others (they're hidden in my drawer,I'm still in denial) yes it's in my upper back jaw & my face becomes swollen. I don't know what your consultant had to smile about!! Its bloody painful! X

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As RA affects all the joints it is possible what you have is known a referred pain. So you are getting joint pain in your temporal mandibular joint (google it to see where this is) which then goes down the nerves into the gums making you think you have tooth ache. Which is caused by tooth decay. Here endeth the lecture:-) The clue to how I know this is in my site name:-))

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Ah,thanks that makes sense, I do clench my teeth at night,which I think makes it worse. I did have a root canal filling about a month ago because of an infection & although it was painful it was nothing compared to last nights pain & I couldn't understand why the pains gone today. So thank you for that info x

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I read ages ago that many people with RA also have gum disease. I think it was saying that gun disease can precipitate RA but perhaps the other way round - cant recall. I printed it off and showed it to my dentist who said she had read similar stuff strongly linking the two. If you can stay away from sugary food as I do now and keep your oral hygiene as good as possible then perhaps you can also eliminate the RA from your jaw and gums.

It made sense to me that they are thought to be closely linked because my teeth have always been very weak and I had a lot of dental treatment as a kid and then into adulthood. Bar the odd replacement filling I now usually get the thumbs up for my teeth and oral hygiene so perhaps that's why my RA seems to have largely been kept at bay recently? And perhaps this connection is why they say smoking is particularly bad for those with RA? The mouth is the main gateway to our bodies after all so it makes sense to me that we need to have it checked and keep it as healthy as possible? Hope your toothache goes soon its really horrible - and is also very similar to the type of RA pain elsewhere I find. TTx

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No I don't think it's that,as Ive always had very strong & very healthy teeth until I got RA I never had any problems with them. I don't smoke & I don't like sweet things (which is very lucky). The toothache has gone today so I think detch is right,it isn't my tooth but my jaw. I think I'm going to ask my gp for some of those pills you mentioned so that my jaw relaxes at night as I think clenching makes it worse. Always something, thank goodness for all you lovely people that take the time to reply. X

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It sounds to me as if you might well benefit from Amitriptyline Caza. I find it helpful and my GP told me that it was non addictive and at a low dose (10mg) almost homeopathic.

And regarding what Dtech says below re aren't we on enough drugs already?! I don't think you are actually taking much for your RA until you start something a bit stronger than Hydroxy soon - you did say the rest was sitting in your drawer unopened? Sorry I forget your story - but this time last year my RA was roving about everywhere, settling some places and moving on from others. I found that the combination of injectable MTX and Hydroxy plus the odd Amitriptyline means that I'm in very little pain now and really mostly hardly worry about having RA (forget I have it often and still in quite easy denial - until I get up out if a chair or bed after time sitting still!). Get those DMARDs down you and you may not have to come on here worrying about toothache and swollen joints any longer you won't know until you've tried them?! TT x

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You shouldn't need pills to stop you clenching your teeth (Dont we take enough drugs with RA??) If you find you are grinding your teeth especially at night, go to your dentist and tell them and there is an easy solution. They will make you a night guard splint. It's like a gumshield. That will not only protect your teeth but also may solve the jaw ache problem as it acts as a shock absorber. Hope this helps.

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Hi,been there & done that. I sleep walk & it didn't matter what time I woke up I would never have it with me & I would have to search all over the house to find out where I'd hidden it! I don't grind I clench it was never really a problem before until I got this awful condition. As long as it's not the infection back I'll cope. Thanks x

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Teeth can be affected by autoimmune disease, but its not generally a straightforward connection. Coeliac disease and any other forms of gut disease that cause malabsorption can affect the enamel on the teeth making them more likely to decay, as well as making the tooth appear incredibly soft (as soft as childrens teeth). Also soft teeth goes along with the same kind of things that cause osteoporosis.

Also toothache can frequently not be coming from the teeth themselves but from sinuses or referred from the jaw joint and other places. Too often we assume its the tooth, have expensive dental work done and the pain still doesn't go away. My first reaction when I get toothache is to always try and clear my sinuses (plain steam inhalations for a start), but I do know that I am getting far more TMJ pain now (temporomandibular joint, ie. the jaw joint) and that definitely refers down to teeth. Ear problems as well, though they aren't as easy to discover or deal with. There are some autoimmune conditions that affect ears and hearing as well, and again, with all the little tube connections (sinuses) between ears, tear ducts, salivary glands, etc it is just so easy for something going wrong in one area to impact on another a distance away.

The final thing is just dry mouth - either from sjogrens (which goes with autoimmunes) or from medication. That can stop bacteria washing away properly, and do a whole lot of dental damage.

I had been recommended using toothpaste that contains strontium (like sensodyne) which makes a lot of sense as strontium is an element that is proving to be incredibly good for bone density (and probably safer than some of the biphosphonates currently mostly used). It really does keep the surface of your tooth protected from a whole lot of different problem causes.

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I also have probllems with my teeth and have gone from strong healthy teeth to teeth which break down and bits fall off. Was told it was the MTX which affected them and my dentist agrees with that as it is such a powerful drug. I do wonder if it is also connected with the RA as of course, teeth sit in the bone of your jaw etc and RA affects bones. Either way, it's no joke. I also use Sensodyne as recommended by my dentist and it does seem to help. I also have sjogrens which makes for a very dry mouth and sinuses. That doesn't help either. This disease has a lot to answer for. LavendarLady xx

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Yes,I use sensodyne,I've always used mild toothpaste not liking the strong ones,I find they leave a film on my teeth. I will go back to the dentist in the new yr,although I did ask him if RA affected the jaw or teeth & he said not. I've never taken MTX so deffinately not that. Thanks to all x

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Hi tilda,I missed your 2nd reply. The last time I was at the hos there was an almighty mix up. Anyway he perscribed pills but didn't really explain them to me & on asking about them on here,I was told that people with a history of strokes in the family should not take it. As my sister died of a massive stroke I thought I ought to check it out first. I wrote to the doctor & to my surprise he phoned me. He told me to take it over Xmas & he will change it afterwards,he said it would be fine in the short term but I don't know I'm not keen. I'm not sleeping well with the pain so I think the pill you take would suit me better in the short term. Don't you want to just go to sleep & awake up without this awful condition. I can dream x

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I'm really, really lucky Caza and although I do still have the condition/ disease, so I'm told, I no longer dread moving around in the night or getting up in the morning with RA. I have a recurring nightmare that it will come back to bite me but so far it hasn't and maybe I'll be one of the rare lucky ones? But I am trying to get used to living for the day as it's less scary.

What was your prescription for then? I don't know enough about what drugs might cause strokes, although my dad died of one too (well he drowned technically but it was assumed that he had a stroke first in the cold water). I do think amitriptyline might work for you - see if you can get a prescription from your GP. It contains sedative so take it early on at night 3 hours before you go to sleep and see how you get on with it - it doesn't suit everyone. Tilda x

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It's Celebrex that I've been given, my sister was extremely fit & healthy, older than me but put me to shame. Apparently it's a genetic fault that runs in the female side. So pleased that the meds are working for you. Long may it last. X

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I went to dentist and hygienist last week (bye bye 120 quid!) and I gave them my 2 pages of prescription sheets so they could update my records. She looked blankly at me and asked which are my normal daily drugs, so said everything except weekly mtx jab. I have never actually seen anyone go ashen up until that moment! Ah bless, welcome to the ra etc etc world!! Virge btw apart from dodgy gums my teeth are perfect and put the rest of my body to shame!

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Hi Caza, my dentist told me I need to take extra care of my oral hygiene as RA can make you more likely to get gum disease. Bought an electric toothbrush and within a year my gums were healthier than they'd been for years. Also much easier to use with the crippy hands. I think you can probably allow yourself the odd mince pie x

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Hiya, thank you for all the replies. Pretty sure it's RA in the jaw as the pain has gone completely today. I know I'm going to have to up the meds if I want any quality of life but still fighting it. Like Tilda I tend not to think to much about what tomorrow might bring,so not taking the meds makes no sense at all. Luckily I don't like mince pies I'll stick to the red wine!! I have a battery tooth brush bought by mistake got the shock of my life!! Love it x

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Hi Caza - remind me do you take any other DMARDs apart from Hydroxy? Sorry but it's really hard to keep up with everyone's stories and I usually click on people's pic to see profile so if you haven't got a profile it makes it doubly hard to remember what people are on.

Have you tried MTX yet I wonder? If RA is in your jaw then I really do think you need something stronger than Hydroxy alongside it. I wouldn't worry so much about pain relief because it doesn't actually stop the disease progressing - you need DMARDs or Biologic drugs for that. Ask your GP for some amitriptyline to try and tide you over the Xmas break a it is for tooth ache like neuralgia pain so it might just do the trick - but make sure you tell your GP and everyone else about the stroke connection before getting any new prescriptions. So sorry about your sister that's awful. Tilda x

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Hi Tilda,yes it is awful she was only 57 & very healthy. I'm one of those difficult peps that don't register as RA but have all the symptoms. Makes it harder for me,think maybe it's in my head but pain tells me not. Also complicated by the that my gps in London & I'm in suffolk,dont ask! Xx

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