According to study results presented at the 2012 European Congress of Rheumatology, tooth loss appears to be an indicator for the subsequent development of rheumatoid arthritis. A greater number of missing teeth was also associated with greater arthritis disease activity and worse response to treatment.
According to Internal Medicine News, researchers reported findings from 540 early arthritis patients who were participating in the CAPEA (Course and Prognosis of Early Arthritis) study. The patients had a mean of 19 teeth when enrolled for the study. Of the study participants, who on average were in their mid-50's, 67% met criteria for the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis and 87% were being treated with DMARDs (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs).
At the 6-month point in the study, 52% had a good response to treatment, 32% had a moderate response, and 16% had no response to treatment. Those with 10 or fewer teeth had a much higher sedimentation rate, higher tender and swollen joint counts, and higher DAS28 scores at 6 months than those with more than 10 teeth. Researchers concluded that those with 10 or fewer teeth when the study began were 3.8 times more likely to have an unsatisfactory treatment response compared to those with at least 28 teeth.
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Photo by Marcin Balcerzak (iStockphoto)