Autoimmune Disorders and Your Oral Health
Autoimmune disorders occur when your body’s immune system attacks healthy cells by mistake. While no one is sure what causes this to happen, it has been found that certain disorders tend to run in families.
Environmental factors and having certain health conditions may also play a role in the development of autoimmune disorders. There are currently known to be more than 80 different types of autoimmune diseases, and just about every part of your body can be affected by one.
When you are diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, it is natural to have many questions. After all, the symptoms of many disorders are uncomfortable and can lead to more serious problems if they are not treated.
When autoimmune disorders affect the mouth, you may notice the symptoms right away. They may also slowly create problems over time.
In some cases, your dentist may be the first one to notice the symptoms of an autoimmune disorder, such as lupus. Being aware of the impact that an autoimmune disorder has on your mouth allows you to be proactive about your oral health.
What Types of Autoimmune Disorders Affect Oral Health?
There are certain types of autoimmune disorders that are more likely to affect your oral health.
For instance, Crohn’s disease can impact your entire gastrointestinal tract, and you may notice symptoms in your mouth that are associated with inflammation, such as swelling of your gums. This disorder can also cause you to develop ulcers in your mouth.
Systemic lupus also causes ulcers to develop during flare ups. These may or may not be painful. They can occur anywhere in your mouth, but they tend to happen most often on the roof or the mouth or inner cheeks. These ulcers can last a while, but they usually go away when the flare up ends.
Sjogren’s syndrome is a fairly common autoimmune disorder that may develop along with rheumatoid arthritis. This disorder affects your salivary glands, which causes dry mouth.
Although dry mouth is annoying, you also need to be aware that it has a serious impact upon the health of your teeth. Without saliva to wash away food debris and bacteria, your teeth become more susceptible to decay.
You may need to use special mouth rinses like Oxyfresh, and stay hydrated, to counteract the damage caused by dry mouth.
Skin disorders such as psoriasis and lichen planus can also cause lesions to develop in your mouth. These may look like red or white patches, and they may cause symptoms such as burning and stinging. Although it is rare, your mouth may be the first place where the signs of these disorders appear.
Can an Autoimmune Disorder Cause Long-Term Damage to Teeth?
When an autoimmune disorder generates symptoms that affect your mouth, you must be vigilant about your oral health.
Lesions on the soft tissues of your mouth may make it harder to keep up with toothbrushing. Dry mouth caused by the disorder or the medications you take can also leave your teeth vulnerable to decay and gum disease.
With proper care, however, you can prevent autoimmune disorders from impacting your smile.
We encourage you to always let us know if you have a new health diagnosis. Call our Chandler dentist office today - in many cases, we can offer treatments such as gentle teeth cleanings and special rinses to help you stay comfortable and take care of your oral health.