CLEVELAND, June 2 (UPI) -- Patients suffered fewer rheumatoid arthritis symptoms when their gum disease was treated, U.S. researchers found.
The study, published in the Journal of Periodontology, found treating gum disease was linked with reduced joint pain, fewer swollen joints and less morning stiffness in patients suffering from a severe form of rheumatoid arthritis.
The researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and University Hospitals of Cleveland studied 40 patients with moderate to severe periodontal disease and a severe form of rheumatoid arthritis.
"It was exciting to find that if we eliminated the infection and inflammation in the gums, then patients with a severe kind of active rheumatoid arthritis reported improvement on the signs and symptoms of that disease," study researcher Nabil Bissada said in a statement. "It gives us a new intervention."
The study results should prompt rheumatologists to encourage their patients to be aware of the link between periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis, study researcher Dr. Ali Askari, chairman of the department of rheumatology at University Hospitals, says.