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The role of inflammation in periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis: similar pathologies

Posted Sep 11 2009 4:56pm

By Joanne C. Fletcher

Arthritis is a nonspecific term that means inflammation of the joints. Arthritic disease encompasses a group of rheumatic disease disorders that affect bone, joint and muscles. More than 100 arthritic diseases affect different parts of the body. Some of the more common types include rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, juvenile arthritis, scleroderma, Sjogren's syndrome, gout, ankylosing spondylitis, Lyme disease, fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis.

The relationship between rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and the progression of inflammatory conditions elsewhere in the body, such as chronic periodontitis (CP), is controversial. The inflammatory response in a healthy individual is our protective response to infection and trauma injuries such as wounds and insect bites. However, the inflammatory response can also result in deleterious effects when inflammation persists and fails to resolve. Thus, the inflammatory response is commonly described as a double-edged sword. The intent of this review is to compare the inflammatory process occurring in RA with that of the periodontal diseases and review the literature on the emerging evidence in this area.

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