Do you have a dry mouth or dry eyes? Are you fatigued? Do you have joint pain? Are your salivary glands swollen? If so, then you may have Sjögren’s syndrome.
What Is Sjögren’s Syndrome?
This condition is an autoimmune disorder, which means that the immune system attacks the body. In the case of Sjögren’s syndrome, the immune system attacks glands which produce moisture, such as the salivary and tear-secreting glands.
How Can Sjögren’s Syndrome Affect Oral Health?
Sjögren’s syndrome affects the health of the entire body, though the mouth is especially affected because of a reduced saliva flow. Saliva is a necessary component to the health of the mouth because it:
- Washes away food debris
- Neutralizes acids
- Helps break down food
- Aids swallowing and speaking
- Brings in substances which fight disease and rebuild tooth enamel
Without enough saliva, you have an increased risk for tooth decay and fungal infections.
How Can Sjögren’s Syndrome Be Treated?
There is no known cause for Sjögren’s syndrome, but the symptoms of it can be treated. Your dentist may recommend treating a dry mouth by:
- Using a saliva substitute
- Chewing on sugar-free gum
- Putting a humidifier in your home
- Drinking more water