Tag Archive | dry mouth

Autoimmunity took my teeth and mouth hostage!


How Autoimmune Disease Impacts Oral Health

Did you know that people who suffer from immune diseases have an increased risk of developing oral health conditions and gum diseases? Numbered below are common immune diseases and how oral health is impacted by them:


The inflammation caused by lupus affects the mouth and tongue. This inflammation, can cause sores on the lips, palate and inside the cheeks. In extreme cases patients may also experience burning of the mouth and lack of saliva. Since saliva normally washes away food, sugars and bacteria, a lack of it can result in dry mouth and an increase in dental caries. Dry mouth increases the risk of decay and yeast/fungal infections of the mouth. Tooth decay can incrase the need for fillings, the need to extract teeth, dentures to replace missing teeth or ineffective chewing which can result in stomach and digestive problems


Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation of the joints, and Rheumatoid Arthritis patients can experience inflammation of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). TMJ patients experience extreme discomfort while performing any activity using their mouths: chewing and talking, opening their mouth at the dentist, eating. They may also experience facial pain, headaches, earaches, locking of the jaw, worn teeth and ringing in the ears. In a few cases, TMJ is caused by misalignment of joint and often expensive orthodontic treatment is needed to lessen or prevent the symptoms.

People suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis can also have Sjögren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease of the salivary and tear glands. Sjogren’s causes severe dryness of the mouth; thus creating problems with chewing and swallowing  and dryness. Because of this dryness there can result in heavy plaque deposits on the teeth. This in turn increases the chances of tooth decay and periodontal gum disease. Because of oral dryness and food not being completely digested when it leaves the mouth and difficulty swallowing,Sjogren’s patients also experience pneumonia because they choked on food. .

     3.SCLEORDERMA (Progressive Systemic Sclerosis)

Scleroderma is known for it’s hardening of the skin; often the lips and tongue are involved. As the effects of this increases, the mouth becomes narrower and the lips and tongue grow more rigid. A tightened mouth makes it difficult to open or move the jaw, thus causing difficulties cleaning the mouth. This increases the risk of developing tooth and gum infections, including periodontal disease or tooth caries.


Thymic hypoplasia, (DiGeorge’s syndrome) causes abnormal growth of the thymus and parathyroid glands, leading to a white blood cell deficiency. Therefore, people with thymic hypoplasia are prone to viral and fungal infections, especially in the mouth. Oral Candidiasis, thrush, and herpes are some of most common fungal infections that affect those suffering from Thymic hypoplasia. In extreme cases, Thymic Hypoplasia affects the mouth and jaw, resulting in improper development of the palate resulting often in a cleft palate, a split uvula, a receding chin, or a shorter-than-normal distance between the nose and the upper lip.


Dermatomyositis is an inflammatory muscle disease that causes unusual skin rashes. It affects women more than men and can affect people at any age. Muscle weakness in the head and neck are the more common signs of dermatomyositis. This is especially concerning as it can also lead to difficulty in swallowing and chewing, and those suffering from Dermatomyositis may have hard bumps inside their face and tongue.

As you can see, each of the above mentioned diseases can have adverse impacts on the health of your mouth. Since the condition of your mouth directly impacts the functioning of your mouth and digestive system, the above mentioned diseases can drastically affect your overall health. If you have been diagnosed with any of the diseases mentioned above,  I can’t stress enough the necessity of meeting with your dentist, explain the concerns you have about your mouth and find out what you need to do to avoid the chances of complications due to oral dryness.


Author Bio:

Emily found the perfect fit for herself as the Online Marketing Manager at Thurman Orthodontics in Fresno CA. She believes that a great smile does more than just make a person look great – it makes them feel great as well. The power of a smile has always been a mystery to Emily that she solves by researching and writing about. She loves to write about everything to do with a healthy bite and a beautiful smile – whether is it ways to achieve it or the importance of it in the various aspects of life. What brings a big smile on Emily’s face is her family and surfing. She also likes to bake and her children and co-workers call her the cookie fairy!















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Why is my mouth so dry that it is a speech impediment?

) By Aleyda McQuade, RDH Registered Dental Hygienist St. Hope Foundation Dry Mouth, also known as Xerostomia, is a condition that usually results from decreased production of Saliva. Extreme dry mouth and salivary gland dysfunction can produce significant…

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Lupus Got Ya Thirsty?

Or: SOMETHING’S GOT YOU THIRSTY! There are many reasons for a dry mouth, but the following is often the scenario with a lupus-caused or Sjogren’s Syndrome-caused dry mouth:

Your mouth is always parched and going anywhere without a bottle of water is simply out of the question. At times you sound drunk; but, at 8AM? Could this be related to lupus and, if so, is there anything to do about it?

Many people with lupus develop a dry mouth. Why? Remember the antibodies of patients with autoimmune diseases that mistake the body’s tissues for foreign tissues and attack them? When they attack the mouth, the salivary glands in and around the mouth produce less saliva, really minimizing the salivary glands’ ability to produce ANY saliva. This happens almost all the time in Sjogren’s Syndrome (in fact, mucosal dryness is a hallmark of Sjogren’s Syndrome), but dryness is not unheard of  in lupus.

Saliva flow can be greatly decreased in lupus, Sjogren’s Syndrome and in other autoimmune diseases, sometimes to the point where it is nearly non-existent. If saliva flow is decreased, food particles aren’t continuously washed away (by that saliva), bacteria hide and thrive in the mouth’s warm, dark environment. Cavities develop, in fact you can lose teeth from lupus or Sjogren’s Syndrome. You may have dry, chapped lips, too. The tongue can be quite tender, so tender that even that very mildest of salsa is too hot!

Unfortunately, serious complications can result from a dry mouth; conditions other than someone thinking you’re drunk at 8 AM! Painful chronic infections of the parotid glands can develop when there is so much mucosal dryness that the normal cleansing mechanisms are disturbed and drainage from the parotid glands into the mouth becomes blocked. Tooth loss is another serious complication. Normally, saliva is alkaline and balances the acid in the stomach and esophagus. Gum disease and periodontal disease are increased in

With decreased saliva, the acid/base balance is interrupted and acid-reflux can develop. Another complication that may arise besides the seriousness of cavities or periodontal disease and parotitis is the possibility that the parotid glands become infected so often that they need to be removed; this can be real risky surgery because the trigeminal nerve can become involved

So, what can you do, when, in spite of frequent dental check ups, regular brushing and flossing you still develop cavities? Talk with your dentist and have a check up at least every 6 months to watch for gum disease. Your teeth are not just cosmetic, they aid in digestion, so do as much as possible to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Also, don’t throw away that water bottle just yet! Just rinsing your mouth periodically helps keeps it clean in between meals. Brush several times a day with a soft toothbrush and floss at least once a day.

Your doctor or dentist may order prescription medications to stimulate saliva production and your pharmacist can help you find over-the-counter products that help stimulate saliva production and  relieving dry mouth. You can also suck on hard lemon candies, but remember that any product that you use should be alcohol-free and sugar-free.

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