Gum disease may trigger severe arthritis

Melbourne: A new research at the University of Adelaide has revealed strong evidence of a link between a common type of gum disease and severe arthritis.

The research found mice with gum disease developed significantly worse arthritis than those without the disease, said PhD student Melissa Cantley from the university``s School of Medical Science.

Clinical studies are now underway to determine if treating periodontitis - a disease that results in red, inflamed gums and loss of bone and tissues that support the teeth - can help reduce the symptoms associated with arthritis, reported .

More than 60 per cent of the world``s population is affected by periodontitis, according to a media release from the university.

In rheumatoid arthritis, the body``s immune system attacks health tissues in the joints, leading to inflammation as well as bone and cartilage loss, and affects up to two per cent of the population.

“Both conditions are the result of inflammatory responses in the body, and our research shows that both are uniquely linked,” the website quoted Cantley as saying.

“Studies in humans have already shown that patients with rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to suffer greater tooth loss than those without rheumatoid arthritis. But exactly how or why hasn``t been previously understood,” she noted.

In their study, Cantley and her colleagues induced both gum disease and arthritis in mice.

“We found that the mice with gum disease developed significantly worse arthritis than those without gum disease, confirming our suspicions,” Cantley said.

She is presenting her research at this week``s national Fresh Science finals at the Melbourne museum.


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