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Knee Arthritis and Your Mouth Bacteria

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 04/29/2024

Arthritis, especially in the knees, is a common affliction as people grow older. A strange connection between mouth bacteria and arthritis may surprise many to understand.

Learn about what mouth bacteria can tell you about arthritis, common symptoms to look for, and what steps you can take to support your overall health.

Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis

Arthritis is a common term that describes joint inflammation, but did you know there are two main types? Let's investigate RA and osteoarthritis in more detail.

Differentiating Rheumatoid Arthritis from Osteoarthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder rather than a typical wear-and-tear condition. It’s an autoimmune disease where the body gets its signals crossed and starts attacking healthy joints.

This disease often appears in middle age but can also appear in younger people.

Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, worsens over time. It’s what happens when the cartilage cushioning our joints wears down with use or injury.

The progression between these two forms varies as well. RA tends to affect both sides of your body simultaneously, while osteoarthritis might only bother one knee or hip at a time.

This distinction helps doctors diagnose which form you may have.

Inflammation illustration

The Role of Porphyromonas gingivalis in Joint Inflammation

Joint inflammation, often linked to arthritis, is a common issue affecting millions.

Porphyromonas gingivalis and Gum Disease

This bacterium causes trouble like gum disease, but also can cause problems far from the mouth.

Research shows the same bacteria associated with periodontitis can be found within inflamed joints.

Presence of Porphyromonas gingivalis in Synovial Fluid

Inflamed joint areas filled with synovial fluid offer an attractive environment for these tiny invaders. Studies have revealed their specific presence inside knee joints.

The exact role they play there is still under investigation, but it does not appear that they support health in any way.

The Impact of Infections on Joint Health

Knee arthritis can be caused by some of the same bacteria that can be found infecting your mouth.

Research shows a connection between certain types of oral bacteria and joint inflammation. One study found Porphyromonas gingivalis, which causes gum disease, in the synovial fluid of arthritic knees.

The bacteria has been shown to interfere with cartilage production leading to its breakdown while promoting calcium biofilm buildup within joints. This resulted in stiffness, pain, and decreased mobility.

A closer look at this process reveals how P. gingivalis triggers an immune response resulting in chronic inflammation.

Natural Antibiotics for Joint Inflammation

Joint inflammation is a nagging issue that different factors can cause. One lesser-known cause is bacteria, specifically from your mouth. Let's learn about some natural remedies that could help combat this.

The Power of Golden Seal and Tea Tree Oil

Golden seal, a potent herbal antibiotic, is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Porphyromonas gingivalis, commonly found in inflamed knee joints, may be inhibited by the powerful antibiotic qualities of the golden seal.

Then there's tea tree oil. This wonder herb not only combats skin infections but may also aid in reducing joint inflammation.

The Benefits of Myrrh, Garlic, and Olive Leaf Extract

Myrrh, an ancient remedy used since biblical times, has also shown promise against microbial infections.

Garlic has also been used as a natural antibiotic for centuries. Research suggests that its antimicrobial properties could assist in managing joint health.

Last on the list is olive leaf extract, another potential remedy you may consider using.

Other Microbes Found in Joints

Our joints can also harbor other lesser-known microbes. Among these are mycoplasma and nanobacteria - two potentially troublesome invaders.

Mycoplasma and Nanobacteria in Joints

Mycoplasmas, bacteria without cell walls that are difficult to identify, have been found in joint tissues, raising questions about their involvement in arthritis. These stealthy organisms have been found in joint tissues, leading some researchers to question their role in arthritis.

On the other hand, Nanobacteria might sound like something from a sci-fi movie, but they're authentic.

Although still somewhat controversial within the scientific community due to their tiny size, studies suggest they may play a part in various health conditions, including kidney disease and arthritis.

Viral-like Particles in Joint Inflammation

We've all heard of viruses causing havoc with our bodies, but did you know viral-like particles have been found lurking inside inflamed joints?

Recent research suggests that these microscopic entities could be involved with inflammatory processes linked to rheumatoid arthritis.

Oral Probiotics and Mouth Bacteria

Oral probiotics can significantly impact the delicate balance of mouth bacteria, leading to potential benefits for oral health.

When introduced into the oral cavity, these beneficial microorganisms can help crowd out harmful bacteria responsible for tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath.

By promoting a healthier bacterial environment, the benefits of oral probiotics can extend to improved gum health, reduced plaque formation, and fresher breath.

Incorporating oral probiotics into your oral care routine may offer a natural and promising way to support oral health and maintain a harmonious balance of mouth bacteria.


Understanding the link between mouth bacteria and arthritis sheds light on potential causes and treatments for joint inflammation. Recognizing the distinction between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis is crucial, as is acknowledging the role of oral bacteria like Porphyromonas gingivalis.

Natural remedies such as golden seal, tea tree oil, myrrh, garlic, and olive leaf extract show promise in combating joint inflammation by targeting oral bacteria.

Exploring the presence of other microbes like mycoplasma, nanobacteria, and viral-like particles in inflamed joints opens new avenues for research and treatment.

Incorporating oral probiotics into oral care routines may also offer a natural way to support oral health and maintain a healthy balance of mouth bacteria, aiding in arthritis management.

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