Those with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have a greater risk of losing teeth due to periodontal disease than the non-RA person by double.

The joint connection between RA and periodontal disease is due to similar pathologies; damage caused by the immune system and chronic inflammation are central to both diseases.  In RA, the immune system attack’s a person’s own cells inside their joints.  White blood cells that are part of the normal immune system travel to the area lining the joints and cause inflammation in those with RA.  In turn, periodontal infections inflame the supporting tissues of the teeth and destroy the attachment fibers that support the bone that holds the teeth in place.

Some scientists think bacterial infections may trigger the disease process in some of the estimated 2.1 million people with rheumatoid arthritis.