Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammato­ry disease that affects a person’s joints, causing pain and disability. It is more common in older people, but there is also a high prevalence in young people, and it affects women more than men. The results of a study by Leeds Biomedical Research Centre demonstrat­es increased levels of gum disease, and disease-causing bacteria, in individual­s at risk of RA. “Our results support the hypothesis that local inflammati­on at mucosal surfaces, such as the gums in this case, may provide the primary trigger for the systemic autoimmuni­ty seen in RA,” said study author Dr Kulveer Manki. The prevalence of gum disease is increased in patients with RA and could be a key initiator of RA-related autoimmuni­ty.

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