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In recent years, scientists have been uncovering numerous links between poor dental health and other physical conditions - including heart disease and diabetes.
Earlier this year, researchers also found a link between rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and gum disease, which further reinforces the importance of good dental care.
Findings published in the Journal of Periodontology indicate that people who suffer from RA are more likely to have periodontal disease.
The German scientists who discovered the connection say that poor dental hygiene due to joint pain is not likely to be the only reason for the link.
In fact, those with RA were almost eight times more likely than people in the general population to have gum disease - even after controlling for a number of demographic and lifestyle factors.
Dr Kenneth Kornman, editor of the journal, suggested that inflammation could link both conditions.
"Inflammation is already thought to link periodontal disease with other conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes," he explained.
Approximately 1.3 million Americans suffer from RA, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
© 2008 Brafton Inc.
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