Hi all, hope you are all enjoying lovely chewy things to eat & nice hot tea & coffee because I'm not & it's probably all my fault.
I was diagnosed with moderate to severe periodontal disease a few years ago which means that I have bone erosion on my jaw and my flipping teeth are getting loose. I saw a specialist who showed me a hair-raising picture of my skull with holes in the jawline & said that it was not a question of whether my teeth fell out, but when. He attributed it to smoking or, possibly, hereditary.
I didn't stop smoking then but I did when I was diagnosed with RA a year or so later. I have hung on to my teeth till now but today I had the first one out since diagnosis - a big, fat, infected molar & it was a struggle despite the apparent looseness of it. I did not like it one little bit. Might have taken it in my stride more were it not for the unpleasant feeling that I'd brought it all on myself & also fearing that my jaw would crumble during the process (it didn't).
I've been reading about the possible connection between RA and periodontal disease. I've been aware of it for some time but my Rheumy poo-pooed it & to be honest I didn't particularly want to go there before. But some of the articles I've been reading today are quite convincing about a possible link - the most credible seeming sites don't seem to say that there's definitely a connection but come up with interesting theories and some compelling statistics.
Obviously theories about the causes of RA don't help anyone fight the disease once they've got it. But personally the thought of smoking leading to one which might lead to another - double trouble - helps keeps me off the fags & anything that does that is worth it.
And now I'm just interested in whether loads of others have periodontal disease. (it's quite common anyway but much more prevalent in people with RA apparently.) And also interested in whether you reckon there's a connection.
Poor you that does sound foul. And I understand about the feelings of guilt because that's the way I feel about having allowed myself to become obese over the years with a family history of diabetes waving at me whenever I peeped over the parapet (or the belly!). I blame my RA on this too and that's why I often think it might have gone away with me now being 4 stone lighter and very much fitter.
I have read that there are strong connections between gum disease and RA but not periodontal disease - but then I haven't really looked. There are of course very well documented links between smoking and RA and my guess is that these things are all closely connected - as well as the links with other autoimmune diseases arriving in secondary form.
My friend who arrives on Friday has Periodontal disease very severely indeed. She has never smoked but hers is so serious that in April she has to have three front teeth removed in one go and then they will operate to take bone from her hip and graft it onto her front jawbone - which has completely decayed so that her teeth are brown and loose and her front jaw has a caved in look she tells me. She explained that this happened over many years when she was undiagnosed and they only found out recently - so she says it's like dry rot of her jawbone. If you know about it and can catch it then this kind of damage can be averted but they didn't find hers until too late. I hope this is a bit consoling in some ways to you at least. Tilda xx