Dental Tribune International

No evidence for link between periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis

By Dental Tribune International
May 25, 2016

STOCKHOLM, Sweden: Various studies have suggested an association between rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and periodontitis, two common diseases that share a number of risk factors, most notably smoking. However, a new study from Sweden has found no support for the hypothesis that the prevalence of RA is higher in patients with periodontitis and vice versa.

In order to investigate a possible link between RA and periodontal disease, both of which are characterised by pathogenetic mechanisms of chronic inflammation and bone destruction, a team of Swedish researchers compared data from 2,740 RA patients with that from 3,942 healthy control cases.

Corroborating previous findings, the prevalence of periodontitis was higher among men than women, in both controls (35 per cent and 31 per cent, respectively) and RA cases (36 per cent and 31 per cent, respectively). Moreover, the analyses showed that the risk of periodontitis increased according to age and current smoking status in both groups.

However, no significant differences in the prevalence of periodontal disease in terms of gingivitis, periodontitis, peri-implantitis, or increased risk of periodontitis or peri-implantitis were observed between RA patients and healthy controls, the researchers wrote. Although previous studies have indicated a possible association between both diseases, the findings demonstrate that the strength and temporality of this association remain unclear.

In order to gain new insight into the relationship between both conditions, large prospective epidemiological studies accounting for RA medication and RA disease activity in relation to periodontitis-associated pathogens are needed, the researchers concluded.

The study, titled “Prevalence of periodontitis in patients with established rheumatoid arthritis: A Swedish population based case-control study”, was published online on 20 May in the PLOS ONE journal.

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