Mouth and Dental Issues with Lupus

I’ve always looked after my oral hygiene by brushing my teeth twice a day and practicing regular flossing. Up until recently, I’ve never had many issues - apart from a couple of cavities. However, I’ve noticed a real decline in how my teeth are doing.

The previous two years seem like I’ve suffered from crumbling teeth. I’ve needed several cavities fixed, and a crown, with talk of a possible root canal. I feel so deflated each time I feel part of a tooth break off, not to mention the costs involved in having to visit the dentist.

On top of these issues, I’ve also experienced awful pain in my teeth. The pain feels like the nerves are irritated and I was convinced it was decay related. However, my dentist performed all the usual diagnostics, such as an X-ray and oral examination, and he could find no source of why I was experiencing the pain.

It got me thinking that perhaps some of these issues could somehow be related to lupus.

Lupus and dental issues

Dry mouth

I spoke with both my dentist and my rheumatologist, who confirmed that issues such as these can be attributed to the fact that lupus patients often have dry mouth. That lack of moisture causes acid levels to build, and this then causes tooth decay. This is certainly something that I can relate to.

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Temporomandibular joint dysfunction

Another condition that has affected me for the last few years is temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ). I’ve experienced pain, stiffness and clicking in the joints in my jaw. It seems to affect mainly my right side, and it can be incredibly painful. Especially when I’m eating and it just suddenly clicks and locks. It also causes me to grind my teeth which is affecting my dental health.

I’ve looked at ways to reduce the symptoms associated with TMJ, such as relaxing my jaw as much as possible. And I’ve invested in a bruxism mouth guard to help relax my jaw when I’m sleeping at night. This has slightly helped, although my rheumatologist informed me that the condition is often associated with lupus, so it’s unlikely to just disappear completely.

Mouth ulcers

One final issue I experience regularly is mouth ulcers. I would say this is a pretty common symptom amongst us lupus warriors from others that I’ve spoken to, and they can be very painful.

Sadly, I haven’t found anything that helps my mouth ulcers. I was prescribed a medication for them (which I cannot remember the name of) and unfortunately one of the main side effects was gout. That possibility put me off, so I didn’t try it. I figured I’ve got enough going on in my body so I didn’t want to chance a new issue like gout arising.

Does anyone else experience dental and/or mouth issues connected to lupus? Have you been able to find relief or get help? Share with others in the comments below!

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