The surprising link between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis — and home remedies for both

Earth Clinic reports a recently published study from Johns Hopkins University that found a bacterial link between periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis. In both cases, a particular bacteria affects the progression of the disease. This points to the idea that bacteria is a likely cause of some autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
The best treatment for gum disease is good oral hygiene, says NHS Choices. Brushing at least twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily can mitigate the disease. For rheumatoid arthritis, however, there is no cure. Luckily, there are a number of home remedies that help relieve painful symptoms and target inflammation. Continue reading to learn some of our favorites:
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1. Hot and cold treatments. WebMD says cold targets joint swelling and inflammation, while heat relaxes muscles and encourages blood flow. When performing a cold treatment, apply a cold compress for no more than 15 minutes at a time, with breaks of at least 30 minutes.
2. Progressive muscle relaxation. This no-equipment-necessary home remedy is easy to do anytime a flareup hits, says WebMD. All you need to do is tighten and relax isolated groups of muscles in your body. Begin with your  face and work your way down your arms, chest, back, belly, legs and feet. Inhale deeply when you tighten, and exhale slowly when you relax.
3. Tai chi. A 2005 study by Tufts-New England Medical Center found patients who practiced tai chi for one hour twice weekly had improvements in joint tenderness and joint swelling and reduced pain. Start a tai chi routine at home by following the below video by Dr. Paul Lam.
4. Fish oil. WebMD says the omega-3 in fish oil tames inflammation and has the added benefit of protecting against heart disease. This is important for rheumatoid arthritis patients, who are at a greater risk for heart disease.
5. Papaya. "Papaya is one of the greatest RA foods on the planet," says Clint Paddison of the the Paddison Program to Rheumatoid Arthritis. That's a strong endorsement. It is effective because it is extremely high in potassium and papain, an enzyme that breaks down protein. The Pacific College of Oriental Medicine says papaya has long been used by practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
6. Orange juice. The potassium and vitamin C in freshly squeezed orange juice work together to fight inflammation, making it a smart morning ritual for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. Clint Paddison warns, however, that before beginning this home remedy, patients should check with their doctors to make sure they can tolerate sugar.
7. Smoothie cortisone shot replacement. Blend together four cups raw spinach, flesh from one papaya or cantaloupe, juice from one orange, and a half cup water. Clint Paddison says this smoothie is so jam-packed with anti-inflammatory potassium, just one serving can have the same effect as a cortisone shot.
8. Acupressure. The "aspirin point," located on the foot between the Achilles tendon and the anklebone (see the below diagram) is thought to provide relief from arthritis pain, says the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine.
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