Dental and Medical Problems

Dent Med Probl
Index Copernicus (ICV 2020) – 128.41
MEiN – 70 pts
CiteScore (2021) – 2.0
JCI – 0.5
Average rejection rate (2021) – 81.35%
ISSN 1644-387X (print)
ISSN 2300-9020 (online)
Periodicity – quarterly

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Dental and Medical Problems

2019, vol. 56, nr 2, April-June, p. 137–142

doi: 10.17219/dmp/105340

Publication type: original article

Language: English

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Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 3.0 Open Access

The frequency and severity of dental caries, and counts of cariogenic bacteria in rheumatoid arthritis patients

Częstość występowania i intensywność próchnicy oraz liczba bakterii próchnicotwórczych u pacjentów z reumatoidalnym zapaleniem stawów

Rita Elizabeth Martinez-Martinez1,2,A,E,F, Rubén Abraham Domínguez-Pérez1,3,B,C,D,F, Javier Sancho-Mata2,B,C,F, Carlos Abud-Mendoza4,C,E,F, José Luis Ayala-Herrera1,5,B,F, Elena Aurora Popoca-Hernandez1,B,F

1 Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Autonomous University of San Luis Potosí, Mexico

2 Department of Advanced General Dentistry, Faculty of Stomatology, Autonomous University of San Luis Potosí, Mexico

3 Laboratory of Multidisciplinary Dentistry Research, Faculty of Medicine, Autonomous University of Querétaro, Santiago de Querétaro, Mexico

4 Regional Unit of Rheumatology and Osteoporosis at Dr. Ignacio Morones Prieto Central Hospital, Autonomous University of San Luis Potosí, Mexico

5 Faculty of Dentistry, University of De La Salle Bajío, Leon, Mexico


Background. It has been reported that patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are more likely to exhibit periodontitis than patients without RA. However, the frequency and severity of dental caries in patients with RA is still unknown.
Objectives. The aim of the study was to investigate whether higher counts of cariogenic bacteria are present in RA patients in contrast to healthy subjects, and to ascertain whether the frequency and severity of dental caries are increased in RA patients.
Material and Methods. The study involved 160 adults: an RA group (n = 80) and a control group matched by age and gender (n = 80). The participants’ dental status scores were determined based on the following indices: the Decayed, Missing and Filled Teeth (DMFT) index, the Filled and Sound Teeth (FS-T) index, Treatment Needs Index (TNI), Care Index (CI), and Integrative Dental Caries Index (IDCI). DNA copies of Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans) and Streptococcus sobrinus (S. sobrinus) were quantified using realtime polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
Results. The IDCI showed that the RA group was more affected, mainly presenting moderate to severe dental caries. The RA group also had higher global DMFT scores than the control group and scored higher on the decayed component of the DMFT index. The TNI and CI indicated that RA patients required more dental attention and appropriate treatment. The Streptococcus mutans count was significantly higher in the RA group.
Conclusion. A complete basic oral examination, along with oral health instruction including adequate oral and dental hygiene, is crucial to prevent dental caries and associated complications in RA patients, since they appear to be more vulnerable than the non-RA population.

Key words

rheumatoid arthritis, dental caries, Streptococcus mutans, Streptococcus sobrinus

Słowa kluczowe

reumatoidalne zapalenie stawów, próchnica, Streptococcus mutans, Streptococcus sobrinus

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