Copenhagen, Denmark, Friday 12 June 2009: Over half (56%) of people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) also have periodontitis (a chronic inflammatory disease of the gum and surrounding ligaments and bones that hold the teeth in place), displaying fewer teeth than healthy matched controls, high prevalence of oral sites presenting dental plaque and advanced attachment loss (the extent of periodontal support that has been destroyed around a tooth) (chi square p<0.05), according to the results of a new study presented today at EULAR 2009, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Copenhagen, Denmark. In addition, these patients were found to have significantly higher RA disease activity and anti-CCP (cyclic citrullinated peptide) antibody levels than others with RA who did not exhibit periodontitis (r=0.84, p<0.05; r=0.78, p<0.05).
The study also showed that, after six months of anti-TNF therapy (prescribed to control RA inflammation and destruction), a statistically significant improvement in periodontal status was seen in 20 (80%) of the 25 participants (mean age 41.5+3.7 years; mean disease duration 7.2+4.8 years), suggesting that the biological therapy may also be able to modulate the inflammatory process in the periodontium (the tissues investing and supporting the teeth, including the cementum, periodontal ligament, alveolar bone, and gingival / gums).
Dr Codrina Ancuta of the Grigore T Popa University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Rehabilitation Hospital, Iasi, Romania, who led the study, said: "There is a growing body of evidence to demonstrate an association between periodontal disease and systemic conditions involving inflammatory rheumatic disease (especially RA), cardiovascular disease and diabetes. However, further cross-disciplinary research among rheumatologists and periodontologists is required to fully understand the underlying mechanisms that link RA and periodontitis, and to explore how patients can be managed m
|Contact: Rory Berrie|
European League Against Rheumatism