Rheumatoid Arthritis

An inter-relationship exists between oral health and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Periodontal disease is more common in patients with RA, and treatment of periodontal disease may reduce severity of RA.

Rheumatoid Arthritis can result in multiple oral problems, such as:

  • Diminished ability to chew and eat if RA involves the temporomandibular joint
  • Diminished salivary output (Sjögren's Syndrome), leading to xerostomia and caries
  • Reduced dexterity, which affects ability to perform oral hygiene
  • Increased caries and periodontal disease risk
B.J. Brown, RDH, MS
B.J. Brown, RDH, MS


Al–Katma MK, et al. Control of periodontal infection reduces the severity of active rheumatoid arthritis. J Clin Rheumatol 2007; 12:134-7.

Ortiz P, et al. Periodontal therapy reduces the severity of active rheumatoid arthritis in patients treated with or without tumor necrosis factor inhibitors. J Periodontol 2009; 80:535-40.

Sankar V, Noujeim M, Oral manifestations of autoimmune and connective tissue disorders. Atlas Oral Maxillofac Surg Clin North Am. 2017 Sep;25(2):113-126.

Pischon N, Pischon T, Kroger J, et al.  Association among rheumatoid arthritis, oral hygiene, and periodontitis.  J Periodontol, 2008; 79(6): 979-986.