Research Reveals Link Between Gum Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Researchers at Johns Hopkins found that the same bacteria that result in chronic inflammatory gum disease also causes joint-destroying rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Scientists previously focused on the Porphyromonas gingivalis bacterium, which as of now has not been proven to be a common link. The Johns Hopkins team looked into alternative links. They observed hypercitrullination as a common denominator and A. actinomycetemcomitans as the culprit behind it. Further studies are needed to see if bacteria elsewhere in the body could be responsible as well.

Key Takeaways:

  •  Since the early 1900s, there has been an observed link between periodontal disease and RA and there have been suspicions they are triggered by a the same factor.
  •  These finding are the closest researchers feel they have come to discovering the root cause of rheumatoid arthritis.
  •  Both periodontal disease and RA are inflammatory diseases and the findings from this research is a big step in preventing and finding good treatments for RA.

“Investigators at Johns Hopkins report they have new evidence that a bacterium known to cause chronic inflammatory gum infections also triggers the inflammatory “autoimmune” response characteristic of chronic, joint-destroying rheumatoid arthritis (RA).”