Science continues to astound us every day, and this next piece of news is no exception. Scientists say they have found traces of gum bacteria in the bad knees of people with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, reinforces the link between poor oral health and poor overall.
Researchers from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland say they have traced the passage of bacteria in the mouth to the fluid that surrounds the kneecap. By analyzing the DNA of the bacteria, the researchers determined that gum bacteria had entered into the bloodstream and settled in the synovial fluid, which was in a weakened state as a result of arthritis.
“In healthy people, the synovial fluid is more or less sterile,” said study leader Nabil Bissada, chairman of the department of periodontics at the Case Western School of Dental Medicine. “Bacteria can make the diseased area much, much worse.”
While the scientists could not conclude that the gum bacteria caused or worsened the arthritis in the patients with bad knees, they recommend that people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis be examined for periodontitis and treated accordingly.
Gum disease has also long been associated with heart disease.
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