Disease activity and subcutaneous nodules are associated to severe periodontitis in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatol Int. 2022 Aug;42(8):1331-1339. doi: 10.1007/s00296-021-04974-5. Epub 2021 Aug 22.


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) was significantly associated with increased overall risk of periodontitis, both chronic, inflammatory pathologies leading to connective tissue breakdown and bone destruction. To identify clinical and/or serological variables routinely evaluated during follow-up of people with RA which are associated with the severity of their periodontal disease. An observational, cross-sectional study was carried out, which included RA patients according to ACR/EULAR 2010 criteria having chronic periodontal disease. RA clinical parameters (disease duration, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, serum C-reactive protein, disease activity (DAS28) and rheumatoid factor, presence of bone erosions and rheumatic nodules) and also corticosteroid therapy were considered. Periodontitis was evaluated according to the American Academy of Periodontology (1999) and chronic periodontitis was assessed by full mouth periapical radiographic examination, periodontal probing depth, clinical attachment level and bleeding index. A total of 110 subjects with RA and chronic periodontitis were included. The female/male relation was 5.1, and no significant differences between genres were found in rheumatic or oral variables. RA patients with longer disease duration, higher disease activity and with rheumatic nodules had significantly greater periodontitis severity. Multivariate analysis confirmed that severe periodontitis was associated with DAS283 4.1 (OR 51.4, CI 95% 9.4-281.5) and the presence of rheumatic nodules (OR 6.4, CI 95% 1.3-31.6). Disease activity and rheumatic nodules were strongly associated with severe periodontitis. Based on these findings it would be desirable to include interdisciplinary management at an early stage of RA to ensure comprehensive treatment of both pathologies.

Keywords: Chronic periodontitis; Disease activity; Oral medicine; Periodontal disease; Rheumatoid arthritis; Subcutaneous nodules.

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / complications
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / drug therapy
  • Chronic Periodontitis* / complications
  • Chronic Periodontitis* / therapy
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Rheumatic Nodule* / complications
  • Rheumatoid Factor


  • Rheumatoid Factor