When people are suffering from dry mouth, their oral hygiene becomes even more important. At the South Carthay dental practice of Dr. Suzanne Haeri, we provide regular cleanings, but we also want our patients to have a better understanding of their own conditions. One potential cause of dry mouth is Sjögren’s Syndrome.
Dry mouth and dry eyes are two of the first signs of Sjögren’s Syndrome. It usually appears with other autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, following an infection. In some people, it also affects the joints and skin, but it is tested for with a biopsy of the saliva glands. If a patient is suspected to have Sjögren’s Syndrome, they will be referred to an oral surgeon who will pluck some saliva glands from their lower lip and send them to a laboratory.
Most people with Sjögren’s Syndrome are older women. Due to their lack of saliva, the food debris in their mouths is not being washed away. While such patients need to be more attentive to their brushing, flossing, and tongue scraping, they can also be helped with artificial throat moisturizers and medications. One stop-gap solution to generate saliva is to chew sugar-free gum and candy.