Understanding the Impact of Rheumatoid Arthritis on Your Smile and Oral Health
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune condition that affects approximately 1.5 million people in the United States alone. This condition is characterized by inflammation in the joints, causing joint pain and swelling, and it can affect many different parts of the body, including the jaw joints. Unfortunately, this can also have an impact on your smile and oral health, leading to several side effects that are important to be aware of.
Increased Risk of Infection
One of the most common side effects of RA in the oral area is temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). This condition occurs when the ligaments and tendons in the jaw joint become inflamed, making it difficult and painful to open and close your mouth. This can lead to discomfort and reduced jaw mobility, making eating, speaking, and smiling harder.
Another side effect of RA is an increased risk of infection. People with RA who take immunosuppressive or steroid medications to manage their condition are more at risk of developing bacterial infections or oral ulcers. This can lead to further pain and discomfort and increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Finally, people with RA are also at risk of developing Sjogren’s syndrome, a disorder of the immune system identified by its three common symptoms: dry eyes, a dry mouth, and RA. Approximately 15% of people with RA may develop this condition, which can cause a decrease in saliva production, leading to dry mouth and an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Importance of Regular Dental Check-ups
It is essential to inform your dental professional if you have RA or any other systemic disease. This will allow them to provide adequate support and help you obtain optimum oral health and a healthy smile. Regular dental check-ups are essential, as they can help detect any oral health problems early and prevent them from becoming more serious.
In conclusion, RA can significantly impact your smile and oral health. The three main side effects are TMD, an increased risk of infection, and Sjogren’s syndrome. To maintain good oral health, you must keep your dental professional informed and have regular check-ups.
If you have RA or any other systemic disease, the team at Vancouver Dental Specialty Clinic is here to help you live your healthy life.
Contact us today at 604-336-0958 or email us at info@vdsclinic to schedule an appointment.