I was diagnosed with lupus two months ago. I have a friend who was diagnosed over 20 years ago. She says that lupus can affect your teeth. I haven’t been one to be regular at any dentist because of my anxiety. But I know I need to rethink it all. What kind of changes should I look for in my teeth now that I have lupus? – Krista
Krista- Thank you for your question.
According to a 2019 article in the dental journal, Oral Diseases, studies show that people with systematic lupus have a greater risk of “compromised oral and dental health exhibiting increased risk of periodontal diseases and temporomandibular joint disorders.” So, how does lupus affect your teeth?
How Does Lupus Affect Your Teeth?
Lupus can affect your teeth and jawbone health, salivary glands, and increase tooth decay. We will explain:
- Jaw joint health – Lupus often affects joints in the body. The temporomandibular joint, which connects the jawbone to the skull, can be affected. Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) can result from chronic inflammation of the joints that lupus can cause.
- Salivary glands – Auto-immune conditions, including lupus, can attack the body’s moisture-producing glands, including salivary glands. A reduction in saliva flow in the mouth increases acid.
- Tooth decay – Tooth decay increases when acid attacks your teeth. In severe cases of decay, a cosmetic dentist can protect and restore your teeth.
- Mouth sores – Additionally, many medications prescribed to treat lupus can cause mouth sores.
Maintaining Your Oral Health with Lupus
It is an excellent time to start seeing a dentist for regular exams and cleanings. Let your dentist know that you have lupus. They will monitor your teeth and gums for signs of dryness. If you experience dry mouth, your dentist can recommend at-home care or prescription remedies to assist with saliva production.
Please do not let your anxiety keep you away from the dentist. Schedule a consultation with an experienced dentist to discuss your options for treatment along with sedation to help you relax.
Baton Rouge dentist Dr. Steven Brooksher sponsors this post.