What is Arthritis?
Arthritis comprises a group of diseases that cause inflammation in one or more joints, leading to pain, stiffness, and limited mobility. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common types. Arthritis can affect people of all ages and can be caused by various factors, including injury, genetics, and underlying medical conditions.
What Are The Common Types Of Arthritis?
The most common types of arthritis are:
- Osteoarthritis: a degenerative joint disease caused by the breakdown of cartilage.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: an autoimmune disorder wherein the immune system attacks the joints, causing inflammation.
- Gout: a type of arthritis caused by a build-up of uric acid crystals in the joints.
- Lupus arthritis: a type of arthritis associated with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), an autoimmune disease that affects various parts of the body.
- Psoriatic arthritis: a form of arthritis that affects people with psoriasis, a skin condition characterized by scaly patches.
- Ankylosing spondylitis: a type of arthritis that primarily affects the spine.
There are many other types of arthritis. In addition, the type and severity of arthritis can vary from person to person.
Which Type Of Arthritis Affects Oral Health?
Arthritis and oral health are interlinked. Arthritis can impact oral health in various ways, but there is no specific type of arthritis that specifically affects oral health. However, certain types of arthritis can cause pain and limited mobility in the jaw, neck, and face—making it difficult to perform daily oral hygiene tasks such as brushing and flossing. As a result, the risk of tooth decay and gum disease can increase. Additionally, some medications used to treat arthritis can cause dry mouth, leading to greater risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Individuals with arthritis should inform their dentist with their condition and related medication in order to ensure they receive proper oral care.
How does Arthritis Affect Your Teeth And Gums?
Arthritis can affect your teeth and gums in the following ways:
- Pain and limited mobility: Arthritis can cause pain and limited mobility in the jaw, neck, and face, making it difficult to perform daily oral hygiene tasks such as brushing and flossing. It can increase the susceptibility to tooth decay and gum disease.
- Dry mouth: Some medications used to treat arthritis can cause dry mouth, reducing the amount of saliva in the mouth. Saliva helps neutralize acids and wash food particles away, so a decrease in saliva can make arthritis patients prone to tooth decay and gum disease.
- Tooth loss: In severe cases, arthritis can lead to jaw joint damage and tooth loss.
- Mouth sores: Arthritis can cause mouth sores and ulcers, making it painful to eat, drink, and perform oral hygiene tasks.
Tips For Healthy Gums And Teeth With Arthritis
Here are some tips for maintaining healthy gums and teeth with arthritis:
- Maintain good oral hygiene: Brush twice with a soft-bristled toothbrush and floss once daily to remove plaque and food particles.
- Use adaptive devices: If you have difficulty brushing and flossing due to arthritis, consider using adaptive devices such as a more oversized toothbrush handle, a water flosser, or an electric toothbrush.
- Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated can help maintain saliva flow, reducing the risk of dry mouth and tooth decay.
- Use a mouthwash: Rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash can help to reduce the risk of gum disease.
- Avoid sugary and acidic foods: These foods can increase the risk for tooth decay and gum disease.
- Visit the dentist regularly: Regular dental check-ups and cleanings can help to prevent and treat dental problems.
- Inform your dentist about your arthritis: Your dentist can provide individualized recommendations and treatments to help maintain oral health and reduce the risk of dental problems related to arthritis.
- Manage stress: The pain and discomfort associated with arthritis can also lead to stress and anxiety, which can cause individuals to neglect their oral hygiene. Stress-management techniques, such as exercise, meditation, or therapy, can help reduce stress and improve oral health.
Arthritis causing dental problems manifests as pain, dry mouth due to certain medications, jaw joint damage leading to tooth loss, and mouth sores. To maintain healthy gums and teeth with arthritis, follow a good oral hygiene routine by brushing and flossing regularly, using adaptive devices, drinking plenty of water, using mouthwash, avoiding sugary and acidic foods, visiting the dentist regularly, informing your dentist about your arthritis, and managing stress. These tips can reduce the risk of dental problems and help people with arthritis maintain good oral health.