Sjögren’s Syndrome: Oral Signs and Symptoms

Sjögren's Syndrome: Oral Signs and Symptoms

Is dry mouth a constant problem for you? Medications, smoking, and dehydration are just a few of the many things that might alter saliva production. Your dry mouth, though, could be an indication of something more serious. Dry eyes and mouth are symptoms often seen in Sjögren’s syndrome. Find out more about this condition and how it affects dental hygiene.

Can you explain Sjögren’s syndrome?

Sjögren’s syndromeis an autoimmune disease. Sjögren’s syndrome causes the immune system to mistakenly target healthy cells and tissues in the body. In this disorder, the immune system typically targets the glands that produce tears and mucus in the mouth and eyes first. Consequently, you’re seeing less saliva and tears.

Researchers have found multiple risk factors for Sjögren’s syndrome, but they still do not know what causes it. The risk of developing Sjögren’s syndrome increases with age, especially in females. Other autoimmune diseases, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, often coexist with this condition.

How Can I Tell If I Have Sjögren’s Syndrome?

The two most prevalent symptoms of Sjögren’s syndrome, though they can differ from person to person, are:

Dry Mouth. A lack of saliva may cause problems with chewing, speaking, and tasting. Tooth decay and mouth ulcers are other possible outcomes.

Dry Eyes. When tears aren’t flowing, it could make your eyes feel dry, itchy, or even gritty. Light sensitivity, visual blurring, and corneal injury are other possible outcomes.

Sjögren’s disease can affect various parts of the body, including the joints, thyroid, kidneys, liver, lungs, skin, and nerves.

This can lead to symptoms like:

  • Sore muscles
  • Pain in joints
  • Lethargy
  • There could be issues with the liver, lungs, or kidneys.
  • Lymphoma

How does Sjögren’s syndrome diagnosis work?

Diagnosing Sjögren’s syndrome can be challenging due to the wide variety of symptoms and their similarity to those of other medical issues and drugs. You can use the following tests to confirm the diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome and rule out other possible causes:

Blood testing. In order to rule out inflammatory disorders, abnormalities in the liver or kidneys, or specific antibodies, your doctor may request certain tests.

Examinations of the eyes. To determine how dry your eyes are, an ophthalmologist can use the Schirmer tear test. Additionally, they can check the cornea for damage by looking at your eyes’ exterior.

Imaging testing. An X-ray or other specialized imaging test can evaluate how well your salivary glands are working.

Biopsy. If your doctor suspects Sjögren’s syndrome, he or she can do a lip biopsy to look for inflammatory cells.

How is Sjögren’s syndrome treated?

Many people with Sjögren’s syndrome are able to control their symptoms with medicine and behavioral modifications, even though there is no treatment at this time. Medical professionals treat the symptoms of Sjögren’s syndrome separately because the condition manifests differently in each patient. Artificial tears and other over-the-counter medicines can help with dry eyes, but for more serious organ problems, immunosuppressive drugs may be necessary.

Reducing the Impact of Mouth Ailments in Sjögren’s Syndrome

Medicaions: Your doctor may recommend pilocarpine or cevimeline to help you produce more saliva. Alterations to one’s way of life and natural cures for dry mouth are also worth a shot:

Don’t Smoke. When you smoke, it dries up your mouth, preventing saliva from flowing freely.

Up your water intake. To alleviate dry mouth, drink small amounts of water frequently throughout the day. If you suffer from dry mouth, avoid drinking coffee, beer, or other caffeinated or alcoholic beverages and instead drink water.

Use Candy and Gum. To increase saliva production, try sucking on sugar-free hard candy or chewing on sugar-free gum.

Use a saliva substitute. Saliva replacement solutions like sprays or lozenges contain a lubricant that can help you keep your mouth moist for longer.

If you want to avoid dental issues like cavities and tooth loss, which may worsen from dry mouth, you need to establish a strict oral hygiene regimen like:

  • Use fluoride-containing toothpaste to brush your teeth twice a day.
  • Use floss or another interdental instrument to clean your teeth.
  • Reduce the intake of sugary drinks and snacks, especially during the intervals between meals.

Consistently schedule checkups and treatments with your dentist and dental hygienist.
Do not disregard your symptoms if you experience persistent dryness in your mouth and eyes. Consult your dentist to understand the cause of your symptoms and find a solution. With the support of our medical team, you may learn to live with Sjögren’s syndrome symptoms and keep your teeth and gums healthy.

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