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Study Shows Possible Link between Oral Microbes & Rheumatoid Arthritis

May, 2021

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In an unexpected finding, the researchers saw similar bacterial composition in the mouth of the patients suffering from early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to those who were at risk of suffering from RA.

The latest study on rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and its effect on the oral bacterial composition was published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology. The authors found that the gram negative anaerobes like Prevotella and Veillonella were present at a relatively higher abundance in the saliva and the tongue coating respectively of both early risk RA patients as well as individuals who are at-risk for RA. The bacterial composition of healthy individuals were considered as the controls for this study.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a type of autoimmune disorder which causes joint pains and other damages throughout the body. It is a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects the joints of the body especially of hands and feet. Currently, there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis and only physiotherapy and medication are prescribed to the patients to slow down the progression of the disease. Early risk RA individuals may suffer with symptoms like joint tenderness, joint pain, weight loss, slight fever, joint swelling, fatigue etc.

This study conducted by Kroese, J. M., et al. states that RA patients as well as those individual are clinically at risk for RA were seen to have a relatively increased abundance of potential pro-inflammatory bacteria in their mouth, this could indicate that there is some connection between these oral microbes with rheumatoid arthritis. The bacteria Veillonella parvula has been found in individuals with cases of meningitis, periodontal disease as well as osteomyelitis. The bacteria has been found in the gut as well as in the dental plaque of humans. While bacteria Prevotella species are members of the gut, oral and the vaginal micro flora in human. This bacteria has been linked with pneumonia, pulmonary empyema, sinusitis, lung abscess etc.

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