Aim: The aim of this study was to determine whether there is a relationship between disease experience of rheumatoid arthritis and periodontal disease.
Methods: 1,412 individuals attending the University of Queensland's School of Dentistry were assessed for the prevalence of periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Analysis of data obtained from a self-reported health questionnaire and dental records was carried out and included: number of individuals referred for advanced periodontal care (test group); number of individuals attending for routine dentistry; determination of rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus through self-reporting and assessment of prescription medications; assessment of periodontal disease through assessment of existing oral radiographs.
Results: In patients referred for periodontal treatment, the prevalence of self-reported rheumatoid arthritis was 3.95% which is significantly higher than that seen in patients not referred for periodontal treatment (0.66%) and also that reported in the general population (1%). Of those referred patients with rheumatoid arthritis, 62.5% had advanced forms of periodontal disease. These results were mirrored in the results of the self-reported prevalence of cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus which was consistent with the published higher prevalence in periodontal patients.
Conclusions: Based on data derived from self-reported health conditions, and not withstanding the limitations of such a study, we conclude that there is good evidence to suggest that individuals with moderate to severe periodontal disease are at higher risk of suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and vice versa.