Arthritis Pain? Check Your Teeth…

There’s no shortage of horse farms and riding stables here in south Texas. Nor a shortage of old farm hands who will tell you checking their teeth won’t only tell you the horse’s age, it may also reveal hidden problems preventing good performance on the farm or while riding.

Turns out checking your own teeth can be helpful for more than avoiding dental pain, too. In fact, numerous studies identify a clear link between dental health and arthritis – both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis; as well as many other health conditions or diseases.

The REAL Cause of Rheumatoid Arthritis?

While many think rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is genetic, twin studies show only 12% to 15% of identical twins will both develop RA. That means other factors greatly influence development beyond simple genetics.

One big factor? Periodontitis, or severe gum disease.

RA and periodontitis are among the most prevalent inflammatory diseases in the human race. Both create an imbalance between the immune system’s pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines, believed responsible for both tissue damage and bone loss. Oral bacteria DNA associated with periodontitis has been found in the joint synovial fluid of those with RA. And gum disease has been correlated with severity of RA symptoms.

But even more evidence continues to pour in showing bacteria associated with periodontitis may be the actual trigger of the initial RA autoimmune response. Bacteria has long been considered a likely cause of RA. Now it appears scientists may have identified the specific mouth bacteria associated with the onset of RA: Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans (Aa).

Aa is thought to trigger RA when the bacteria releases a toxin which modifies how enzymes convert amino acids within proteins. This conversion modifies signaling that causes white blood cells to attack healthy cells – the autoimmune response.

Is there any good news here? Yes! Multiple studies show treating periodontitis also significantly decreases RA severity. According to one, scaling/root planing and plaque control more than triples the odds of lowered RA severity compared to the control, untreated group.

All Forms of Arthritis Have Ties to Gum Disease

Osteoarthritis (OA) also has direct ties to periodontitis. In a study of nearly 8,000 South Koreans over age 50, more than 3,000 had knee OA bad enough to be visible on X-rays. The study’s authors were able to correlate periodontitis with OA risk – and the worse the periodontitis, the worse the OA. The correlation isn’t necessarily causation, but there’s certainly a strong link here.

Unsurprisingly, other inflammatory health conditions combined with inflammatory dental issues like gum disease further increase your risk of painful conditions like arthritis. One recent study of more than 3,500 participants found those with both Type 2 diabetes and periodontitis had a significantly higher incidence of osteoarthritis.

My bottom-line conclusion from these studies in plain English: the more inflammatory conditions you have in your body, including those in your mouth, the more likely you are to suffer from arthritis pain. So seek to achieve and maintain the best possible oral health.

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Live Pain Free NewsletterThis article first appeared in the April 2022 issue of Live Pain Free®, our long-running private monthly publication featuring interviews and articles from world-leading doctors, natural health practitioners and others who share cutting-edge advice for naturally living a pain free, more vibrant life as well as many helpful tips, recipes and more.

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Correia C. Genetics and Rheumatic Disease. American College of Rheumatology. 2018 Aug.

Kaur S, White S, Bartold M. Periodontal Disease as a Risk Factor for Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Systematic Review. JBI Library of Systematic Reviews. 2012;10(42 Suppl):1-12.

Konig M, et al. Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans–induced hypercitrullination links periodontal infection to autoimmunity in rheumatoid arthritis. Science Translational Medicine. 2016 Dec 14;8(369):369ra176.

Al-Katma M, et al. Control of periodontal infection reduces the severity of active rheumatoid arthritis. Journal of Clinical Rheumatology : Practical Reports on Rheumatic & Musculoskeletal Diseases. 2007 Jun;13(3):134-7.

Kim J, et al. Association of periodontitis with radiographic knee osteoarthritis. Journal of Periodontology. 2020 Mar;91(3):369-376.

Donath M, Shoelson S. Type 2 diabetes as an inflammatory disease. Nature Reviews. Immunology. 2011 Feb;11(2):98-107.

Kim H, et al. Association Between the Severity of Periodontitis and Osteoarthritis in Middle-Aged and Older Patients With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Nationwide Population-Based Study. Arthritis Care & Research. 2022 Mar;74(3):403-409.

Filed Under: Arthritis
Written By:  Updated:
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Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFT

Jesse is the co-founder and visionary CEO of The Healthy Back Institute®, the world-leading source of natural back pain solutions. His mission as a former back pain sufferer is to help others live pain free without surgery and pharmaceuticals.

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6 thoughts on “Arthritis Pain? Check Your Teeth…”

  1. Sei Johnson says:

    I suffer from herniated disc pain, as well as carpal tunnel pain. Can you help, please?

    1. Admin says:

      Hi Sei,
      Thank you for your question. We would like to help and suggest that you get a copy of our 7 Day Back Pain Cure Book covering back pain and related issues. It gives suggestions for pain relief and treatments to consider.

      Please find more details about the book at the link below:-

      Thank you, Our Best Wishes
      Admin(The Healthy Back Institute)

  2. Michelle Burke says:

    I have had SLE Lupus for 30 years and I have arthritis in my hands and body that is called Lupus arthritis. I also have only 7 upper teeth left in my head and they are decade as were all the rest of them before they were pulled out. Do you think some of my arthritis is caused by my bad teeth?

  3. Nancy MacCord says:

    I am willing to try the Back Pain medication that you describe but only my present order. I suffer from back pain starting at the neck and all the way down the spine I believe it is degenerative related and I have had it for years and when it is really bad I have to take Motrin for the pain and use a heating pad for relief. I have emailed my doctor and finally will meet with her at the end of this month. I requested to see a chiropractor who is very good and I believe would be really good support in addition to the back pain relief supplement you recommend.

  4. Annamaria says:

    I recently had Neurosurgery of my lumbar spine which has spinal stenosis and herniated discs. the surgery was successful in that it took away the sciatica on both legs to back of Knee on the right. to foot and toes left. Both sides. of legs from hip to ankle. Toes both sides. Now have SI joints inflamed with Knifelike stabbings on L. joint. Surgeon to discuss fusion on LSI . Says chronic and acute pain for 40 years will be gone. What say you.? Also scoliosis never diagnosed by treating Dr. Long dead. help.

  5. Pam says:

    How long does it take these enzymes to work?
    Days? Months?
    I ordered and have been taking one bottle to try it for a month . Is that enough time?

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