Autoimmune diseases can affect your entire body, including your mouth. Your dental health can suffer if you have an autoimmune disease and you don’t take special care of your dental health. There are several diseases that directly affect your teeth and gums. Here is a look at autoimmune diseases that affect your dental health.
What is an Autoimmune Disease
An autoimmune disease is a disease where your body’s immune system, which is designed to fight off infections and other diseases, begins to attack other parts of your body. Your immune system is supposed to attach bacteria and viruses before they can multiply in your body. It has the ability to capture the bacteria, break it down, and eject it through waste. In some cases, your immune system can mistake specific parts of your body for things that it is supposed to fight and, essentially, attack your body from within.
Sjogren’s Syndrome is one of the most common autoimmune diseases that affect dental health. It is a disease that weakens the salivary glands, the glands that produce saliva. Saliva is an important part of fighting off infection and how your mouth functions. With less saliva, you become prone to fungal infections, changes in taste, and you may see an increase in cavities. While a problem, Sjogren’s Syndrome can be treated simply with good dental hygiene practices.
Crohn’s Disease is a common disease that many people have heard of. It has a variety of symptoms and effects, but it can also impact your dental health. Crohn’s Disease can cause swelling in your mouth, particularly in your gums. It is uncomfortable and can lead to shifting teeth. Plus, you become prone to mouth ulcers which are excessively uncomfortable.
Hashimoto’s Disease doesn’t affect the teeth or gums directly in most cases. It is more focused on the tongue and throat. It causes significant swelling in the esophagus, which makes swallowing difficult. This can be dangerous if undiagnosed as it presents a choking hazard. Scleroderma has a similar effect that can make it difficult to eat. If it is hard or painful to eat, many people reduce their consumption. This can affect your overall health, including your dental health, by starving yourself of the nutrients that you need for healthy teeth and gums.
While not as prevalent as it has been in previous generations, it is still possible to have Lupus. Lupus affects your dental health by creating lesions and ulcers in your mouth. While they are not always painful, they can be. This often drives people to not eat, which weakens their immune systems and overall health. Autoimmune diseases can be difficult to treat and you don’t want your dental health to suffer and turn into another problem for you.
If you have an autoimmune disease or you are struggling with your dental health, see a skilled dentist for help. Call us at 973-728-3779 or email us here to schedule an appointment. We can help you keep your dental health in good condition while you seek treatment for an autoimmune disease.