Ten red flag signs of arthritis in your mouth – and how to tackle inflammation

When trying to identify the tell-tale signs of an inflammatory condition like arthritis, you probably look to the joints in your legs and arms first.

However, your mouth is generally the first entry point, which gives bacteria access to the rest of your body.

According to Dr Safa Al-Naher, founder of dental clinic Serene by Dr Safa, these pesky microbes can then stir up trouble, including inflammation.

This can be a recipe for “serious” health problems, including jaw arthritis.

Fortunately, the dentist shared the red flag signs that could ring alarm bells.

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Dr Al-Naher instructed looking out for these symptoms of jaw arthritis:

  • Creaking, grating, clicking, or crunching noise
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Facial pain or pain around your ear or neck
  • Headaches
  • Inflammation in or around your jaw joints
  • Jaw stiffness, especially in the morning
  • Jaw tenderness
  • Pain, which can be a dull ache or a sharp stab when you move your jaw
  • Restricted joint movement or locking of your jaw
  • Tooth pain.

If you suffer from jaw pain, the expert recommended seeing your dentist “as soon as possible”.

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The earlier you catch and treat arthritis, the greater your chances of preventing damage dealt to the jaw, Dr Al-Naher explained.

She added: “Arthritis of the jaw can also result in symptoms associated with emporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. 

“These can include chronic inflammation, cartilage deterioration and restriction of jaw movement.”

The good news is that there are a few interventions that could prevent and tackle inflammation in the mouth, consequently reducing your risk of jaw arthritis.

The doctor recommended the following measures:

  • Eat a diverse range of foods to boost your microbiome (particularly legumes, beans and fruit)
  • Eat fermented foods (for example yoghurt, sauerkraut and kefir)
  • Eat prebiotic food to stimulate growth of good bacteria (artichokes, bananas, asparagus, oats and apples)
  • Reduce your sugar intake (high sugar diet can encourage the growth of acid-loving bacteria like Streptococcus Mutans)
  • Avoid fizzy drinks and diet drinks (these can contribute towards dental erosion and upset the good bacteria)
  • Choose a microbiome boosting toothpaste
  • Brush twice daily using a sonic toothbrush and floss daily
  • Use a mouthwash (but at a different time to brushing or you will wash away the protective fluoride in the toothpaste).

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