By Dr. DeLuca
Painful aching joints and a general feeling of being unwell are often the first signs of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Affecting nearly
1.5 million Americans between the ages of 30 and 70, three times as many women than men are diagnosed with the disorder.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, and like all other autoimmune related conditions, it causes the cells in the body to attack itself. In the case of RA, it causes the body to attack its joints. The synovial fluid that lines the bones of the joints is the first to become inflamed, and it deteriorates. As the disease progresses, especially if left untreated, it can deteriorate the cartilage and then the bone of the joints. Individuals with RA have severe stiffness, and mobility issues from the disorder and their joints may begin to look deformed as RA advances.
RA can Affect Organs and the Body
• Mouth—Dryness and gum irritation exacerbating periodontal disease and cavity risk
• Eyes—Dryness, pain, redness, sensitivity to light and impaired vision
• Skin—Rheumatoid nodules – small lumps under the skin over bony areas
• Lungs—Inflammation and scarring that can lead to shortness of breath
• Blood Vessels—Inflammation of blood vessels that can lead to damage in the nerves, skin and other organs
• Blood—Anemia, a lower than normal number of red blood cells1 (causes increased risk for cavities)
Along with taking prescription medications (that increase periodontal disease and cavity risk), heat and cold therapy is something you can do at home to manage your disease and discomfort. Self-massage is helpful, as well as exercising and stretching. Eating a nutritious diet, especially one that includes fish oils, vegetables, fruit, and lean protein can help your body fight off flare-ups and infections. Turmeric is a natural anti inflammatory that can be taken in powder form or tablets to control swelling from RA. It is natural and easier on liver and kidneys.
If you have RA and any form of gum discomfort, bleeding, or bad breath, it’s important to consult with your dentist about getting your condition treated right away before it gets worse. Often, just getting a deep scaling, which is a cleaning that goes above and below the gum line, will correct mild to moderate periodontal (bone) disease. Loose teeth and infection in bone that supports the teeth, are treated by a periodontal specialist, as they can provide you with options to get your mouth healthy again. These include deep scaling’s, gingival grafts, laser treatment (LANAP), and pocket reduction procedures.
Staying on top of your dental health through regular dental cleanings, x-rays, and dental examinations are critical to avoid more expensive procedures and maintain a healthy smile, that’s free of decay, infection, and oral cancer. There are multiple treatment options; however, if you need to replace missing teeth, getting dental implants is the best solution for overall health.
Whether you have rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, or another medical condition, it is essential to keep your dentist informed. Many individuals fail to tell their dentist about their current health issues and changes; but with all of the evidence pointing to strong oral-systemic health connections, it’s imperative to let them know about changes in your health and any new medications that you’re taking; so that they can best educate you on prevention of disease.
Dr. Vivian DeLuca, DMD, FAGD, FADIA at
IMPECCABLE SMILES (Lutz, FL)
“Your overall health is much more dependent on your dental health than most people understand. My passion is helping people live healthier lives by taking care of their teeth!”
With Dr. DeLuca and her team, you will love coming to the dentist! Their unique caring staff will put you at ease and have you laughing in no time! Their office was designed to provide you with the latest state-of-the-art dental technology in a comfortable, home-like setting.
Dr. Vivian DeLuca attends monthly training to be able to offer you the latest advancements in dental treatment options that will suit your exact needs. She regularly performs permanent tooth replacements, single dental implants, implant-supported dentures, mini-implant supported dentures, and custom-fit natural look dentures. Their gentle quality care brings people from all areas of Florida.
Impeccable Smiles uses only the best equipment because they believe that their patients deserve the latest state-of-the-art technology. They are one of the only offices around that uses the Valtech Green CT Implant Scanner due to its extremely low dose x-ray capability, and they also use a groundbreaking digital impression scanner for their dental implant patients.
impeccablesmiles.com | (813) 365-3552
4945 Van Dyke Rd., Lutz, FL 33558
1. “Rheumatoid Arthritis.” About Arthritis, Arthritis Foundation, arthritis.org, 2018
Rheumatoid Arthritis & Periodontal Disease
By Dr. DeLuca