According to the American College of Rheumatology, more than 1 million Americans suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. In contrast to osteoarthritis – a far more prevalent condition that is characterized by wear and tear on the joints – rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that involves painful inflammation. Research regarding a potential cure for this condition is ongoing, and scientists have found that curcumin, which is found in turmeric, may provide some degree of relief. Now, a new study has revealed more about the nature of rheumatoid arthritis in general.
Researchers from the University of Louisville School of Dentistry Oral Health and Systemic Diseases and the European Union's Gums and Joints project have discovered a potential link between gum disease bacteria and rheumatoid arthritis, a press release states. The bacteria in question, Porphyromonas gingivalis, has reportedly been found to produce an enzyme – peptidylarginine deiminanse (PAD) – that results in earlier onset and increased severity of the autoimmune condition.
"Our results suggest that bacterial PAD may constitute the mechanistic link between P. gingivalis periodontal infection and rheumatoid arthritis," explained Dr, Jan Potempa.
Time will tell how this correlation will affect ongoing research into rheumatoid arthritis treatment and prevention, but it does highlight a potential health risk posed by oral health issues like gingivitis. Interestingly, a study published earlier this year indicated that curcumin could help manage this gum disease as well. This compound has documented anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, and has been applied to many medical afflictions.