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The specific cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown. Although the exact mechanisms involved in this disease have not yet been determined, a number of associated factors have been identified. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis develop antibodies, immunoglobulins, months or even years prior to the onset of symptoms. These are clearly related to the disease and associated with its most severe forms.
The factors most closely linked to an increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis are:
Smoking. Smoking causes a number of changes in the proteins of the airways and lungs that promote inflammatory processes. This leads to the subsequent development of autoantibodies and then to arthritis.
Periodontal disease. This is an infection of the gums that damages soft tissue and can destroy the bone that supports the teeth if not treated.