Ways Your Dental Exam Can Reveal Autoimmune Diseases


Autoimmune disorders can cause a myriad of symptoms such as fatigue, hair loss, weight gain or loss, and even gastrointestinal disturbances. An autoimmune condition known as Sjogren's syndrome not only causes extreme eye dryness, but it can also lead to abnormalities inside your mouth. Your dentist may suspect that you have Sjogren's syndrome if your examination reveals any of the following findings.

Dry Mouth

Sjogren's syndrome affects both the tear glands and salivary glands. In addition to dry, irritated eyes, this autoimmune disorder can also make your mouth extremely dry. If your dentist determines that your mouth is overly dry, they may recommend that you increase your fluid intake by drinking plenty of non-caffeinated beverages. In addition to this, they may prescribe a special mouthwash formulated to increase oral moisture.

If your salivary glands do not produce enough saliva as a result of an autoimmune disorder, then you may be at a higher risk for dental decay or tooth abscesses. Saliva effectively washes away infection-causing bacteria inside the mouth, and when your mouth is too dry as a result of poor salivary flow, oral bacteria can proliferate, raising your risk for cavities and infections.

White Patches

White patches on your tongue, the floor of your mouth, throat, or insides of your cheeks are often the result of a thrush infection. Also known as candidiasis, thrush is a fungal infection that is seen in diabetics and those with Sjogren's syndrome. The white patches can be easily scraped off, however, they bleed easily and are often painful.

If your dentist diagnoses thrush, then they may prescribe an anti-fungal liquid to swish around your mouth. While the medication will help clear the infection, it will not stop the fungal infection from returning. Your dentist will also recommend that you maintain good oral hygiene because doing so can help lower your risk of thrush and other oral infections caused by autoimmune disorders. 

If you have Sjogren's syndrome or another autoimmune disorder, see your dentist on a regular basis. When oral complications from autoimmune diseases are recognized and treated promptly, you may be less likely to develop fungal infections, gum disease, dental decay, and taste disorders as a result of poor salivary flow. In addition to seeing your dentist regularly, be sure to keep regular appointments with your physician. When autoimmune disorders are well-managed, they may be less likely to cause oral problems.

Contact a local dentist if you have more questions.

About Me

FAQs About Pregnancy and Dental Health

During pregnancy, expectant mothers have to deal with a host of changes to their bodies. I was surprised to learn that part of those changes is to your dental health. I was not aware that hormonal changes could mean an increased risk of gum infection and other dental problems. Luckily for me, my dentist was prepared to handle any problems that I experienced during my pregnancy. I created this blog to help other expectant mothers understand the changes that their dental health could experience throughout their pregnancies and the possible ramifications those changes could have on their pregnancies and the health of their unborn children.

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