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Oral Bacteria and Its Effect on Joint Failures

By Jody Smith HERWriter
 
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does oral bacteria have an effect on joint failure?
Lev Dolgachov/PhotoSpin

Oral bacteria can cause problems that reach far beyond the mouth. A study out of the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine followed the damage caused by bacteria after it leaves the mouth and enters the bloodstream.

Among the findings was data indicating that bacteria in fluid lubricating both knee and hip joints shared the DNA contained in dental plaques in patients with gum disease who need joint replacement.

A news release was issued on April 18, 2012, reporting that aseptic loosening or usage of artificial joints can fail within 10 years even when there is no sign of infection. Findings can be read in the April 2012 edition of the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology.

Researchers studied bacteria such as Fusobacterium nucleatum and Serratia proteamaculans to see if they were affecting patients with gum disease, whether they were found in the fluid. Findings seem to support a long-held theory that arthritis patients were being affected by the bacteria.

The study was performed with 36 patients with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis at the University Hospitals Case Medical Center.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. The joints can lose function. Wrist and finger joints are most commonly affected though any joint in the body can be targeted. RA affects women more often than men.

The age group most commonly hit is between 25 and 55 years old. Symptoms can come and go in milder cases. Severe cases of RA can experience lifelong symptoms.

The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis (OA). Joints experience pain, swelling and limited motion. The most commonly affected joints are the hands, hips, knees and spine, though any joint can be affected.

Cartilage, which is the slippery tissue covering the ends of bones in the joint, is damaged by OA. When cartilage is doing its job, it acts as a shock absorber. As cartilage diminishes, bones can rub together, and over time the joint becomes damaged.

If you are overweight, or have injured a joint, and as you age, your risk for osteoarthritis increases.

Add a Comment1 Comments

Marielaina Perrone DDS Blogger

Good to see some dental education getting out there regarding the effects of oral bacteria on the entire body.

April 29, 2013 - 11:01am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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