Sheridan Dentist Connects Gum Disease to Arthritis

Brushing and flossing your teeth are considered not negotiable if you want to have the best oral hygiene. Floss reaches the areas between teeth where the bristles of a toothbrush can’t fit. However, brushing twice a day, and flossing every day, is often neglected by people who are busy, tired, or just can’t seem to develop good oral hygiene habits. If staving off gum disease and tooth decay isn’t enough incentive for you to brush and floss properly, a new study claims that the benefits of diligent oral hygiene extend to joint health. Dr. Donald Coon, your Sheridan dentist, explains the details of the research that links gum disease to arthritis.

Oral Bacteria Found in the Knees

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, OH, examined DNA to determine that bacteria from our mouths can travel all the way down to the knees, potentially exacerbating existing cases of arthritis. Our knee caps are surrounded by synovial fluid.  In people with good joint health, this fluid is sterile. When arthritis is present, however, bacteria can settle in the knee joints. More research is needed to find out If the presence of the bacteria will definitively worsen arthritic symptoms, but these findings add to theory that there is a huge correlation between gum disease and overall health.

Gum Disease and Your Health

While the Ohio study didn’t include patients with periodontitis (advanced gum disease) some of the patients had bacteria in their mouths and knee joints that were identical. Though the research is inconclusive in terms of what complications might be in store for patients with arthritis, knowing that the bacteria from gum disease can travel to the knees is a good reason to maintain oral health. Patients with osteoarthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis, should be especially diligent about regular examinations for gum disease.  Further research regarding the connection between periodontal disease and the knees, as well as other parts of the body, is warranted.
The connection between your mouth and overall health is continually studied. No matter what researchers find, there is no question that healthy teeth will enhance your quality of life. If you are due for a checkup contact our 82801 dentist office at (307) 672-7567. We are proud to provide comprehensive dental care to patients from Sheridan, and surrounding communities.