Arthritis Awareness Month: Dental Health and Arthritis

During these first few weeks of May, have you been wearing more blue?  If not, consider making a change to your wardrobe because it’s Arthritis Awareness Month and people nationwide are being urged to “Go blue for arthritis!” by the Arthritis National Research Foundation, a group that has been funding research to find a cure for arthritis for over forty years. Something people may not often think about when it comes to arthritis is its relation to dental health.  Dr. Steven Van Wicklen answers some questions below that arthritic patients may have regarding this correlation.

 “With my arthritis, holding a toothbrush is difficult. What can I do?”

This is not uncommon.  For many people with arthritis, the simple act of holding a toothbrush and flossing can be very difficult. Because of this, many people neglect their oral hygiene. Do not let that happen to you. Try an electric toothbrush because, although it still needs to be held, it performs much of the necessary cleaning motion all by itself. A floss holder is also helpful.  Again, it will not cut out all of the work, but it can definitely alleviate some of the frustration. 

“I have heard that there is a link between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis.  Can you explain this?”

A recent study shows that gum disease can increase your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. There was always thought to be a link between the two, but this new research suggests that the gum disease might actually be a causal factor.  The study indicates that people with mild to severe gum disease are three times more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than people without gum disease.

If you share the above concerns about rheumatoid arthritis, your Austin dentist is happy to help you with all your dental care needs.  Simply call our office at (512) 448-3131. We treat patients in the South Austin area.