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Research looking to improve childhood arthritis by optimizing oral health

A new study will soon be underway aiming to improve care for children with arthritis, thanks to a $120,000 grant from Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation.

The new research led by pediatric rheumatologist Dr. Alan Rosenberg will investigate a connection between diseases affecting the teeth, gums and jaw and childhood arthritis. 

There is evidence in adults that diseases affecting the teeth and gums can be associated with arthritis; however, there is very little information about the relationship between oral health and childhood arthritis

This new information from this novel research is expected to show that optimizing oral health in children with arthritis will improve the arthritis.

“Finding evidence of infection involving the teeth and gums in children with arthritis will help direct therapy to control the infection and as a result, we believe arthritis also should improve. We believe that assessing and managing oral health in children with arthritis will prove to be an important part of managing childhood arthritis in the best possible way,” Rosenberg explained.

Dr. Alan Rosenberg

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is among the most common chronic diseases of childhood, affecting around 24,000 Canadian children. 

The research will test the hypothesis that poor oral health is more prevalent in children with JIA and is associated with more aggressive disease, poorer response to therapy, and less favorable arthritis outcomes. 

“Our study will be the first of its kind. Although there have been reports of oral health status in children with arthritis, our research will investigate oral health much more thoroughly and with more advanced and innovative technologies than has ever been done before,” Rosenberg said.

The study will be conducted by collaborators from the University of Saskatchewan’s Colleges of Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine, and Agriculture and Bioresources. Rosenberg said the goal is to begin recruiting patients to the study by this November.

Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation has partnered with Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation on our Research Grant Program, disbursing $345,600 in 2020 for innovative new maternal and pediatric research projects.

Donate today to continue to help our province’s medical community conduct vital research for the health of Saskatchewan kids and families.

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