Autoimmune disorders carry with them a host of symptoms that cause pain and discomfort. In some cases, these disorders can also cause periodontal disease, tooth decay and tooth loss. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to preserve your smile and maintain good oral health. Here are some of the facts about how autoimmune disorders can impact your teeth and gums and what you can do about it.
Some medications used to fight immune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis can lead to salivary gland issues, leaving the mouth and tongue dry. These conditions can lead to tooth decay and fungal infections. Patients with lupus or Sjogrens syndrome can have similar issues even without medication. Your dentist or immunologist can prescribe medication that stimulates the salivary glands, preventing the risk of tooth damage and oral fungal infections. If you've already experienced tooth decay or tooth loss, talk to your dentist about cosmetic dentistry procedures that can improve the look of your teeth.
People with scleroderma may have difficulty opening their mouths due to difficulties with their jaws. This problem is also present in some people with rheumatoid arthritis. If you are affected by either issue and you are unable to open your mouth for extended periods of time, you may need to schedule multiple appointments with your dentist for routine cleanings and checkups.
In some cases, the limited movement of range can impact your ability to properly care for your molars. This loss of dexterity may require some adaptive equipment to maintain good oral hygiene. Talk to your dentist about any difficulty you are experiencing so you can get the best possible treatment for your teeth.
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis are at risk for periodontal disease. The arthritis leads to inflammation of the joints and connective tissue, and this same type of inflammation can also attack the gums, which can lead to periodontal disease if left untreated. People with rheumatoid arthritis may also have a difficult time maintaining regular oral hygiene practices due to an inability to properly grip a toothbrush or dental floss.
Talk to your doctor about adaptive equipment for brushing your teeth to prevent gum disease. If you already have periodontal disease, you may choose to undergo laser gum treatment to repair the damage. If tooth loss has also occurred as a result of gum disease, your dentist might recommend dental implants or other cosmetic procedures to replace the missing teeth.
Autoimmune disorders can be difficult to treat, but your dentist can be your ally in fighting the effects of the disorders on your teeth and gums. Be sure to tell your dentist about all of your medical issues and any medications you are taking to ensure the best possible care and to prevent interactions that could impact your health. If you are unhappy with your smile as a result of your autoimmune disorder, ask your dentist about cosmetic dentistry procedures that can help you regain the appearance of healthy teeth.