There are a number of health conditions that have consequences for a patient’s teeth and gums, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one of the most common. Dr. Stephanie Herbst of Enid Dental Care understands her patients’ needs and wants patients with RA to know they can expect compassionate care for gum disease.
When people have RA, their immune system attacks their synovium, which is a tissue that lines the joints. The attacked synovium swells up and hardens, sometimes causing joint deformities. Johns Hopkins recently examined the connection between gingivitis and rheumatism. They found that people with RA are twice as likely as the average person to have gum disease and six times as likely to have severe gum disease. It is true that people with rheumatism commonly have limited dexterity and find it difficult to brush and floss. But another study found that synovium and gum tissue share similar cellular structures. This could help to explain why gum disease is common in people with RA who have not yet lost the use of their fingers.
By maintaining regular dental check-ups, people with RA can keep their gum pockets as clean as possible. We can assist them by guiding them toward grips for toothbrushes and prescription throat moisturizers. RA is believed to be caused by genetic and environmental factors, but people can significantly reduce their risk of developing it by not smoking.
Dr. Stephanie Herbst operates Enid Dental Care at 2411 Heritage Trail, Ste #4, Enid, Oklahoma, 73703. To schedule an appointment, call 580-237-2213 or visit Enid Dental Care and fill out a contact sheet.