When people are suffering from autoimmune disorders, their dentist becomes a much more important part of their care team. At Dr. Joseph Dallessandro’s Upper East Side practice, we want to help patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) understand why they are at risk for periodontal disease.
A recent study found that 70% of people with RA have gum disease, twice the rate of the general population. This could be partly due to people with RA having difficulty brushing and flossing their teeth, but gum disease is also common in people whose RA had not progressed that far. Instead, scientists think it is because of the structure of the gingival tissue. RA occurs when the body’s immune system attacks a joint lining called synovium, and gum tissue shares some crucial DNA markers with synovium.
RA is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Patients can reduce their risk for it and gum disease by not smoking. If they are having difficulty with their oral hygiene, they may want to consider an electric toothbrush and floss picks. They may also find themselves in need of throat moisturizers if RA affects their salivary glands.
Joseph S. Dallessandro, DDS, and Jiah Choi, DDS, operate at 360 E 72nd St, Ste B, New York, New York, 10021. To set up an appointment, call 212-988-1089, or visit Joseph Dallessandro DDS and fill out a contact sheet.