Background: Several studies have indicated a relationship between rheumatoid arthritis and periodontal disease. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between the circulating proinflammatory mediators tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin-1beta, prostaglandin E(2), serotonin, rheumatoid factor, and periodontitis in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Methods: Nineteen patients, 17 women and two men, with rheumatoid arthritis were included. These patients had been examined repeatedly (average of three times) with regard to inflammatory markers and mediators from blood samples. Their teeth, excluding third molars, were examined with regard to number, clinical attachment level (CAL), probing depth (PD), and gingival bleeding on probing (BOP). Assessment of furcation involvement and increased tooth mobility was also made. All patients were non-smokers. Thirty healthy individuals, 20 women and 10 men, were included as a reference regarding TNF-alpha.
Results: Patients with high levels of time-averaged TNF-alpha from repeated plasma samples had a higher frequency of BOP as well as increased CAL and PD compared to those with low levels.
Conclusion: Gingivitis and periodontitis are related to high levels of circulating TNF-alpha in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.