How You Can Stop Gum Disease From Making Your Rheumatoid Arthritis Worse

Dentist Articles

If you've been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, it's quite possible that you also have gum disease. Below you'll discover the basics about each of these conditions and how your gum disease may be making your rheumatoid arthritis worse. You'll also learn about home remedies for gum disease and professional treatments performed by your dentist.

The Cause and Symptoms of Gum Disease

Germs and bacteria that live in your mouth attach to the surface of your teeth. While brushing and flossing removes most of the plaque on your teeth, some of it can remain. Eventually the sticky plaque turns into tartar after it hardens on your teeth. As the tartar builds up around the bottom portion of your teeth, it gets underneath your gums and causes inflammation.

The symptoms of gum disease are easy to spot and you'll notice them as you care for your teeth. If your gums are swollen, red, bleeding or sore, this signals the presence of gum disease.

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Gum Disease

Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease of the autoimmune system that occurs in patients who have an immune system that is more active than normal. The immune system falsely assaults its own tissues resulting in joint inflammation, swelling, pain and stiffness. These symptoms most often occur in the wrists, hands, elbows, knees and neck.

When you have inflamed gums due to gingivitis, this triggers your hyperactive immune system and it causes joint inflammation. According to a study, patients who have rheumatoid arthritis are four times more susceptible to having gingivitis. In addition, a patient who has rheumatoid arthritis will usually have a more serious case of gum disease.

Home Treatment of Gum Disease

To prevent your gum disease from getting worse and aggravating your rheumatoid arthritis, try these simple home remedies.  

  • Salt water rinse – Dissolve one teaspoon of salt into an eight-ounce glass of water. Swirl the salt water mixture around in your mouth for 30 seconds and spit it out. This rinse will help to alleviate the inflammation in your gums and it destroys bacteria.
  • Hydrogen peroxide – Measure three capfuls of three percent hydrogen peroxide into a cup. Rinse your mouth out with this solution and spit it into the sink. Using this home remedy twice a week will help to keep your teeth from bleeding.
  • Electric toothbrush – When you have sore joints in your fingers and wrists due to rheumatoid arthritis, it may be hard for you to hold your toothbrush while you brush your teeth. To make it easier and more effective for you, use an electric toothbrush.

Professional Treatment of Gum Disease

To treat your gum disease, your dentist will remove the tartar and calculus by deep cleaning the area along your gumline and on your tooth roots. Types of cleaning methods include root planing, scaling and laser gum treatment. During the scaling and root planing method, your dentist will use hand tools and ultrasonic vibrating instruments to bust up the calculus.  

During laser gum treatment, your dentist will use a laser to eliminate the plaque and tartar. As compared to the other methods, this procedure takes less time to perform. In addition, you'll have less bleeding, soreness and swelling of the gums after the procedure is finished.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis and you have any of the gum disease symptoms, visit your dentist or find out more here. If it's determined that you do have gum disease, try the home remedies above and speak with your dentist about a gum disease treatment. After a periodontal procedure, your gums will be healthier and your rheumatoid arthritis will be less severe.


11 March 2015