If you or a family member have been diagnosed with lupus, chances are that oral health is probably the last thing on your mind. However, it's important for you to know that lupus may impact your oral health and could cause some dental problems without medical assistance. If you want to reduce the impact of lupus on your mouth as much as possible, read on to learn what you may be up against and how to improve your condition.
Lupus can cause dry mouth in two separate ways: through the medication you're taking to treat the lupus and the side effects of lupus itself.
If you've been diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome alongside lupus, you could experience an enlargement of your salivary glands. While this is generally a painless experience, it can impact how much saliva your mouth generates. Most people who experience enlarged salivary glands will produce less saliva. Furthermore, with or without Sjogren's Syndrome, some of the medications prescribed to control lupus can cause dry mouth.
If you are experiencing dry mouth or are concerned that you might, talk to your dentist about mouth washes and other solutions for increasing the amount of saliva you produce.
Increase in Tooth Decay Risk
If you have dry mouth, your risk of tooth decay and gum disease can also increase. Saliva has antibacterial properties and washes away food debris, which can help to prevent cavities and gum disease. However, with a reduced output of saliva, your risk of both tooth decay and gum disease may go up.
Corner of Mouth Sores
A lack of saliva has one other negative impact on your oral health: it increases your risk of sores on the corner of your mouth. In addition to antibacterial properties, saliva also has antifungal properties. Without sufficient saliva, fungus can run rampant, potentially causing sores to develop on the sides of your mouth.
Ideally, to prevent this problem, you should work with a dentist to find a way to help you to produce more saliva. However, you may also benefit from an external topical anti-fungal medication to help beat any infections.
Lupus can cause a lot of problems to your overall health, but it's important to not overlook the impact it can have on your dental health. If you have been diagnosed with lupus, set up an appointment with your dentist to discuss your new health concerns and to arrange for more frequent appointments to prevent decay and gum disease. Talk with a place like Adams Dental Center for more information.