Why Sjögren's Syndrome Patients May Need More Dental Cleanings

Posted on: 27 April 2023

If you have an autoimmune disease known as Sjögren's syndrome, then you are probably familiar with its symptoms of dry, irritated eyes and dry mouth. Sjögren's syndrome affects your tear and salivary glands which cause a decrease in both tear production and saliva production. Because this autoimmune disorder can cause dry mouth and other oral symptoms, you may need more dental cleaning treatments to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Here are some reasons dental cleaning treatments are so important for people with Sjögren's syndrome.

Risk for Dental Decay

Lack of saliva is a risk factor for dental decay. If your salivary glands fail to produce enough saliva to effectively rinse away the bacteria responsible for cavities, germs will build up in your mouth making a breeding ground for infections and tooth decay.

More frequent dental cleaning appointments will help ensure that plaque and tartar are effectively removed from underneath your gum line and all surfaces of your teeth to help prevent cavities. During your teeth cleaning appointments, your dental hygienist can assess your teeth for areas of concern and report their findings to your dentist for further evaluation and treatment.

Risk for Periodontal Disease

Sjögren's syndrome can also heighten your risk for a severe form of gum disease known as periodontal disease. Not only can periodontal disease cause bleeding and sore/swollen gums, but if not diagnosed and treated while still in its early stages, it can destroy the bones that support your teeth.

In addition to causing a dry mouth and poor salivary flow, Sjögren's syndrome and other autoimmune diseases such as hypothyroidism can speed up the development of plaque on your teeth and under your gums. This can trigger an inflammatory response and infection, leading to periodontal disease.

More frequent dental cleaning appointments will help keep your teeth free from plaque and tartar to reduce your risk for periodontal disease and gum recession. If your dental hygienist notices deep pockets from gum recession or other signs of periodontal disease, they will tell your dentist who may recommend a more intensive type of dental cleaning called tooth scaling and root planing. 

If you have Sjögren's syndrome or other autoimmune disease, see your dentist on a regular basis and consider the importance of more frequent dental cleanings. With good oral care, you can help prevent Sjögren's-associated oral problems such as carious teeth, gum disease, and tooth loss so that you can enjoy a healthy and more attractive smile. 

Contact a dental service like Midtown Family Dentistry to find out more.