If an unhealthy gut is the most important factor in understanding the trigger for many diseases, the state of our gums runs it a close second. In a new study, gum disease has been linked to rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the chronic inflammatory disease that affects joints.
Bacteria from bad gums could be initiating the auto-immune response that causes the joint pain and swelling associated with RA, researchers from the Leeds Biomedical Research Centre have found.
Gum (periodontal) disease is more common in RA patients, and bacteria from the gums have been found around arthritic joints, but the real clue is the response of the immune system. In the early stages of RA, and before joints are affected, it produces special protein antibodies to bacteria that is found only in the gums.
In their study, the researchers found that people most at risk of developing RA were twice as likely to also have gum disease.
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