What is gum disease? Periodontal disease (gum disease) appears to be genetically determined inflammation induced dysregulation of bone metabolism affecting 15% to 40% of the population.
The germs responsible for gum disease are found in everybody's mouth. It is up to the immune system response if you get the disease and the process is destructive or you don't get the disease and the protective shield is up.
How the destructive process works: the immune system responds to the bad germs by sending some enzymes to attack bacteria but they attack the gums and bones around the teeth too, because they cannot tell the difference between good and bad. Result in time: deep pockets are going to form between the gum and the tooth accumulating more bacteria and exacerbate the problem. Now, rheumatoid arthritis has the same symptoms as gum disease: pain, swelling, tenderness; if left untreated, leads to bone loss. A recent study found the presence of gum bacteria in the joint's fluid of individuals affected by rheumatoid arthritis. More so, antibodies to the same bacterial species are found in both places. Also, both conditions are characterized by chronic inflammation, in a soft tissue site near the bone.
Once you have been diagnosed with gum disease, eliminating inflammation is the key to successful treatment.
Many people already know that there is a strong correlation between gum disease, heart disease, and low birth weight. Now another one with rheumatoid arthritis.
Does that tell everybody that the same blood that flows through every organ of our body passes through the mouth too, including gums and teeth and carries the bad bacteria everywhere?
If you have a healthy immune system, good genetics, and don't smoke, the bacteria is going to be killed. If you are the less luckier one, seems like the bacteria can spread everywhere.
So go see your dentist, make sure you are checked for gum disease, know your risk factors, and avoid them. (You cannot choose your relatives, right?)