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, 3 (8), 387-92

The Role of Risk Factors for Periodontal Disease in Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis

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  • PMID: 9707521

The Role of Risk Factors for Periodontal Disease in Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis

C Gleissner et al. Eur J Med Res.

Abstract

There are conflicting reports whether patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are at a higher risk for periodontal disease (PD). Analogous mechanisms of tissue destruction have been reported for both diseases. This cross-sectional study should quantify PD in patients with longstanding RA and examine a possible association between the two diseases. It should also be investigated whether PD in RA patients could be the result of reduced functional capacity or be amplified by concomitant medical treatment. 50 RA patients were matched for age, sex, smoking and oral hygiene with 101 healthy controls. Data on the medication over the last three years was obtained by questionnaire. Among the rheumatological parameters recorded were a 28-joint-count, C-reactive protein (CRP), grip strength testing, upper extremity function (Keitel Index) and the Larsen-score of radiological joint destruction. The oral examination included the recording of individual oral hygiene measures and sicca symptoms, a modified Approximal Plaque- and Sulcus-Bleeding-Index (SBI), probing depths and clinical attachment loss and the Community Periodontal Index of Treatment Needs. The mean duration of RA was 13 (+/- 7.9) years. RA patients under treatment with disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs, n = 46; 92%), corticosteroids (n = 38; 76%) and non steroidal antirheumatic drugs (NSAIDs, n = 43; 86%) had a higher rate of gingival bleeding (+ 50%), probing depth (+ 26%), clinical attachment loss (+ 173%) and number of missing teeth (+ 29%) compared with controls. While no correlation between the rheumatological variables (radiological destruction, functional capacity, grip strength) and the periodontal measurements (SBI, probing depth, clinical attachment loss) could be demonstrated, a positive correlation was observed between the CRP and the periodontal attachment loss (r = 0.32; p <0.05). In spite of a strong correlation between the duration of DMARD- and cortisone-medication and the Larsen-score (r = 0.48 and 0.64; p = 0.0005 and 0.0001, rsp.), no correlation between the duration of pharmacotherapy and the periodontal parameters could be established. Patients with long-term active RA present a substantially higher degree of PD including loss of teeth compared with controls. Functional impairment of the upper extremity might amplify present PD. The longterm use of NSAIDs, corticosteroids and DMARDs shows no connection with the severe PD observed in these patients. Oral hygiene amplifies PD severity and treatment need. Intensive prophylactic measures are required to prevent or reduce the damage of the periodontal tissues in RA patients.

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