Rheumatoid arthritis can impact on not only your joints but also your dental health. As an autoimmune disease, it can make oral hygiene difficult to maintain and leave your gums prone to inflammation. As such, regular dental check-ups should form part of your healthcare plan when you have rheumatoid arthritis. Here's an overview of three ways rheumatoid arthritis can impact on your dental health and a few tips for combating these issues:
Your Immune System Is Compromised
Bacteria thrive on food particles in your mouth, but a healthy immune system is usually able to keep the number of bacteria in your mouth in check. When you have a compromised immune system, bacteria levels can quickly grow and overwhelm your immune system's attempt to keep it under control. This creates an inflammatory reaction that can lead to gum disease and enamel erosion.
You're Susceptible To Developing A Dry Mouth
A dry mouth can be a side effect of certain medications, such as corticosteroids, commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. This may not sound like a serious problem, but without enough saliva, which is alkaline, your mouth can quickly become acidic. Bacteria thrive in acidic environments, so a dry mouth leaves you susceptible to an overgrowth of bacteria, which can bind with food particles to create plaque.
Swelling And Joint Pain Can Make Teeth Cleaning Challenging
Rheumatoid arthritis in your hands or jaw joints can make brushing your teeth physically challenging and painful. Thorough brushing and flossing may become impossible during a flare-up of your symptoms and food particles can easily be missed. Rotting food particles can damage your gums and encourage a build-up of tartar.
Tips For Maintaining Healthy Teeth And Gums
Reducing the bacteria in your mouth and improving your ability to clean your teeth thoroughly are key to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Here are a few tips to consider:
Make sure to schedule an appointment with a dentist in an effort to keep your mouth healthier if you're concerned about the impact of rheumatoid arthritis on your teeth and gums.Share