Why brushing your teeth properly can ward off arthritis: Unhealthy bacteria in the mouth have links to autoimmune disease, the study found
- Brushing your teeth properly could prevent rheumatoid arthritis, a new study found
- The autoimmune disease can be related to unhealthy bacteria in the mouth
- The research was carried out by the Academic Center for Dentistry in Amsterdam
It can banish bad breath and promise the perfect smile. And now there’s another benefit to brushing your teeth properly – as it could prevent rheumatoid arthritis.
According to a new study, the autoimmune disease that causes joints to become swollen and painful may be linked to unhealthy bacteria in the mouth.
The study by the Academic Center for Dentistry in Amsterdam looked at 50 people with rheumatoid arthritis and 50 with inflammatory joint pain.
Researchers at the Academic Center for Dentistry in Amsterdam found that brushing your teeth properly can prevent rheumatoid arthritis. (Picture from a picture agency)
They examined bacteria on the volunteers’ tongues, saliva and plaque and compared them to 50 healthy people of similar ages.
Two types of bacteria have been seen more commonly in rheumatoid arthritis patients and those at risk of the disease – including one known to cause chronic inflammation in the body.
The results, published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology, suggest that good oral hygiene could ward off harmful bacteria and the risk of the disease.
Lead author Johanna Kroese said the next step is to see if fighting these bacteria, known as Prevotella and Veillonella, will lower your risk of arthritis.
Ms. Kroese said, “Our research suggests that oral bacteria may play a role in triggering the onset of rheumatoid arthritis.
“If so, the next step for future research would be to see if the risk of rheumatoid arthritis can be reduced by targeting these bacteria.”
Rheumatoid arthritis affects nearly 1 in 100 people in the UK and adds up to more than 400,000 in total.
It affects two to three times the number of women compared to men.
The researchers found similar levels of oral bacteria in both people with the disease and those at risk who already had joint pain and high levels of antibodies that attack healthy joints.
During their study, the scientists looked at 50 people with rheumatoid arthritis and 50 with inflammatory joint pain. (Picture from a picture agency)
Compared to healthy people, both groups had higher levels of Prevotella in their saliva – some strains were found to cause chronic inflammation, similar to people with rheumatoid arthritis.
They also had higher levels of a type of microbe called Veilonella in their saliva and on their tongue compared to the balance of other bacteria in their mouth.
The arthritis patients in the study were all diagnosed in the past year, and it is possible that the condition is upsetting bacteria in the mouth.
However, experts suggest that poor brushing is more likely to allow harmful bacteria to thrive and get into the bloodstream, causing inflammation that can help trigger rheumatoid arthritis.