January 24, 2017 – RA and Gum Disease


Anchor lead: Bacteria in the mouth may contribute to the development of rheumatoid arthritis, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Bacteria that reside in your mouth, known as oral flora, have been known for some time to be involved in various diseases and conditions, such as atherosclerosis. Now Johns Hopkins physician researcher Felipe Andrade and colleagues have found a link between a common mouth bacterium and rheumatoid arthritis.

Andrade: Our contribution to this knowledge has to do more with understanding of how the gum disease might be driving rheumatoid arthritis and we identified these bacteria, we make the argument that these bacteria could explain many things that haven’t been found for many years when we are studying the gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis.  :22

Andrade says the bacteria cause chemical changes to certain proteins in the body, which then activate the immune system and lead to a cascade of reactions resulting in RA, in those who are genetically susceptible. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.