Ankylosing spondylitis

AS patients need dental checks: study

I have always been a proponent for dentists and getting your teeth cleaned twice a year especially after I read an article about George Burns who said his good health was due to visiting a dentist yearly! I personally had periodontal disease in my early twenties because I was so terrified of dentists I would not go to them. It wasn’t  until I started having problems with sensitivity issues I finally broke down and went only to find out how bad my teeth and gums had really gotten. I have since made it a point to visit twice a year because the pain I suffered getting my teeth scaled was to much to bear and I never want to go through that again!
With this article it is interesting that a study went so far to determine that those of us with AS should really pay attention to what is going on in our mouths. We get so focused on the changes in the rest of our bodies and neglect the areas that are changing but really show no signs of pain. So have you been to the dentist lately?

PATIENTS with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) should be sent to a dentist to check for chronic periodontitis (CP) advise Taiwanese researchers who have found a strong link between the two conditions.

Patients who had been diagnosed with AS were nearly twice as likely to have been previously diagnosed with CP (41.5% vs 25.9%, OR=1.84) the authors wrote in Arthritis and Rheumatism.

The study of 6821 AS patients and 34,105 matched controls from Taiwan’s Longitudinal Health Insurance Database 2000 was by far the most extensive study on the topic to date, they said.

The data was likely to be highly representative of the Taiwanese population as a whole because cheap ($5 per visit) government-subsidised healthcare meant that 99% of the population visited a doctor annually, the authors said.

Twice-yearly dental checks were also provided by the government, and hence the dental information was likely to be of good quality, they remarked.    

The authors noted that “treatment for CP did not greatly affect the association between the two conditions.” This suggested that the mechanism underlying the link between AS and CP was more likely to be due to an underlying alteration of immune function, rather than through an inflammatory contribution of CP, they said.

Smoking was an important risk factor for CP (although not AS) that had not been included in the study, the authors cautioned. They found no sex difference in the correlation between AS and CP, they added.

“Clinicians treating patients with AS are advised to refer them to specialists to evaluate their periodontal health,” they concluded.

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