Doctors and scientists have long been concerned about a link between oral bacteria and joint health. In 2012, researchers studied a small group of participants who suffered from periodontal disease and joint disease, some of whom had joint replacements. Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine questioned the DNA of bacteria from the lubricant fluid in hip and knee joints, which is called synovial fluid. Then, the dental plaque of the patients with periodontal disease was also examined.
Case Western study
In the study “Identification of Oral Bacterial DNA in Synovial Fluid of Patients with Arthritis with Native and Failed Prosthetic Joints,” researchers examined 36 participants, five of whom had a direct link between the DNA of his or her dental plaque and the bacteria in the joints. Eleven of the participants had rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and 25 were diagnosed with osteoarthritis (OA) during the time of the study. Of these participants, eight with OA and one with RA had failed prosthetics. Bacterial DNA was detected in five patients with failed prosthetic or native joints, and two of those individuals were identified to have gum disease and identical bacterial clones between the joint and mouth. This study showed a possible link between gum disease and failed joints; however, the findings were not substantial enough to make definitive claims.
The dental plaque that was tracked during the study is the cause of inflammation in the mouth, which, once in the bloodstream, can cause kidney and heart disease, cancer or even premature births or fetal deaths.