There are plenty of good reasons to maintain good oral health. Proper dental hygiene reduces the likelihood of experience problems like cavities, tooth decay or bad breath. In addition, a new study is looking at the link between gingivitis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center told the North Platte Bulletin that the bacteria that is responsible for gingivitis (P. gingivalis) can get under the gum tissues and begin eating away at the jaw bone. During this process it secretes a protein that is often found in stiff, achy joints, leading researchers to believe that there may be a connection.
"Periodontitis is a major cause of tooth loss in adults," Jeff Payne, who is leading the research, told the news source. "Some people are more susceptible than others. Half of the cases of periodontitis can be attributed to genetics, but smoking is a major risk factor as well."
In addition to contributing to chronic joint conditions like arthritis, gingivitis is also one of the leading contributors to bad breath, according to the Mayo Clinic.