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Oral Infections and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Periodontal disease has also been associated with rheumatoid arthritis an autoimmune disease that inflames joints and causes destruction of cartilage, bone and ligaments. Diseased gingival tissues and joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis produce similar cytokines and growth factors and these chemicals promote the dissolution of bone, a problem shared by both diseases.

Further, levels of anti-CCP antibodies (anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibody) are considerably higher in those patients with periodontal disease who also have rheumatoid arthritis, suggesting that periodontitis may be a contributing factor in the pathogenesis of that condition. Coincidently, P.gingivalis produces an enzyme that induces citrullination of various autoantigens. It has also been shown that patients with rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to develop periodontal disease.

Mercado, F.; Marshall, RI.; Klestov, AC.; and Bartold,PM. : Is there a relationship between rheumatoid arthritis and periodontal disease? J Clin Periodonto. 27:267-272, 2000.

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