In honor of Healthy Aging Month, we’re taking a look at Sjörgen’s syndrome and its oral health effects.
More than 4 million Americans live with Sjörgen’s syndrome, a chronic autoimmune condition affecting people aged 40 and older. While symptoms widely vary (difficulty talking, chewing or swallowing; a sore or cracked tongue; a dry or burning throat; dry or peeling lips; and severe fatigue), one symptom that affects nearly everyone with Sjörgen’s is dry mouth.
Without adequate levels of saliva to help remove mouth debris, your teeth become increasingly vulnerable to decay. Fortunately, there are ways to lessen the effects:
- Drink water frequently
- Reduce alcohol and caffeine consumption
- Avoid tobacco
- Limit carbonated beverages
- Chew sugar-free gum
- Use artificial saliva
- Try an oral rinse
By staying vigilant and working with your dentist and physician, you can help ease the effects of Sjögren’s syndrome.