Sjogren's Syndrome is a systemic disease of the autoimmune that affects more than 4 million American citizens, with the vast majority of them being women. One of the major symptoms of Sjogren's Syndrome is a dry mouth. This happens because Sjogren's Syndrome causes the saliva glands to stop or greatly reduce their production of saliva -- which can wreak havoc on your dental health, primarily because lack of saliva creates conditions where oral bacteria thrives as well as promotes an acidic environment in the mouth, which results in the erosion of tooth enamel.
Sjogren's Syndrome can be a primary condition or it can be secondary to other autoimmune disorders such as lupus. No matter what the case, however, it nonetheless requires following a careful dental health regime in order to prevent gum disease and other serious problems that can occur as a result this condition. Fortunately, those with Sjogren's Syndrome can take precautions to minimize the negative effect on their oral health. Following are five things that everyone with Sjogren's should do to promote general good oral health, including the prevention the onset of gum disease.
Be Vigilant About Practicing Good Oral Health
The good news is that when caught in the early stages, gum disease can be reversed even in those with Sjogren's Syndrome provided vigilant practice of good oral health is part of the picture. Using an antibacterial, enamel-building toothpaste helps guard against the erosion or enamel that can accelerate the process of tooth decay.
Use Fluoride Rinses
The condition caused by the lack of saliva production is called xerostomia. Saliva is how the mouth cleanses itself of bacteria, so those with xerostomia need to be vigilant about using flouride rinses designed to reduce populations of oral bacteria. It's best to use these products after every meal and to refrain from eating and drinking for at least 30 minutes after use.
Consider Using a Waterpik®
Although flossing is an important part of oral health because it helps remove plaque from the areas in between the teeth that brushing can't reach, some people struggle with the process. Evidence exists that flossing may also result in increased gum sensitivity and may cause bleeding, particularly if it isn't performed on a regular basis. Some people benefit more from using a Waterpik® than from flossing -- this device is generally easier to handle for many people than floss, and its massaging action improves the health of the gums by promoting blood flow to the area as well as reaches areas that are difficult to access using regular dental floss.
Drink Lots of Water
Those with Sjogren's Syndrome should drink lots of water in order to flush away excess oral bacteria. This also helps those suffering from xerostomia to stay as comfortable as possible -- although having a consistently dry mouth isn't painful in the way a toothache or an abscess is, it can nonetheless cause considerable discomfort. It's also a good idea to rinse the mouth with water after eating or drinking acid foods and beverages, such as fruit, wine, salad dressing, certain types of vegetables, processed grains, and dairy products. It's recommended that juices and milk be consumed through a straw in order to avoid the substances coming into direct contact with the teeth.
Find the Right Dentist
When dealing with oral health as a Sjogren's Syndrome patient, it's important to choose a dentist who has experience dealing with those with this particular disorder. Although Sjogren's Syndrome isn't terminal, it doesn't have a cure, so you'll be living with it for the rest of your life. To ensure that you enjoy the best possible quality of life, you need a dentist who is knowledgeable and experienced with this condition to help you craft a good long term oral health strategy.
For more information, contact companies like Trusted Natural Care.