Common Etiologic Factors and Epidemiology between RA and Periodontal Disease

Rates of RA in patients with a diagnosis of periodontitis are significantly higher than in the general population, 3.95% versus less than 1%.6 Similarly, in patients with RA, periodontitis is at least two-fold more prevalent than in the general population. These findings are independent of smoking history, age, and gender.49 This increased disease prevalence may indicate common risk factors and/or common pathobiology. Both RA and periodontitis cause destruction of hard and soft tissue through similar pathways in that the pro-inflammatory cytokines, and inflammatory cells that result in gingival, collagen, and bone destruction are common between both diseases.49 The patterns and mechanisms of disease progression in periodontitis and rheumatoid arthritis indicate a high level of host susceptibility and may present analogous disease states (Table 1).

Table 1. Common Pathologic Factors in RA and periodontitis.8

Table 1 Common Pathologic Factors in RA and periodontitis