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Dental Care and Lupus: Impact on Oral Health

By Bruce Wilderman on March 09, 2015

A woman at her office smilingWe at Artistic Expressions Dentistry are proud to serve the greater Philadelphia area, and we know that dental health and total wellness are interlinked. Sometimes a serious health condition results in symptoms that affect dental health. This is why general dentistry is a key part of improving total wellness. For instance, lupus can lead to some serious dental health issues, and having your dentist identify these problems can lead to prompt and effective treatment.

About Lupus

Lupus is an chronic autoimmune disease that occurs when the antibodies of a patient attack his or her own body. Any part of the body or any system in the body can be subject to this autoimmune condition.

Lupus Can Be Difficult to Diagnose

Lupus is probably best known to people thanks to the television program House. The condition is commonly mentioned as a recurring punchline even though the joke is no laughing matter. The reason it came up so much in the television show is that lupus can be difficult to diagnose since the symptoms of the condition are similar to those of other health problems.

Among the signs and symptoms are some common dental problems that may seem minor at first but can become more serious issues as a result of the condition.

Dental Issues as a Sign of Lupus

Some of the most common oral health problems that are a sign of lupus include the following:

  • Sores and Ulcers - Many people who have lupus will notice canker sores and lesions appear on their gums, lips, and other soft tissues of the mouth. It's estimated that up to 40% of people who are diagnosed with lupus suffer from these kinds of symptoms.
  • Dry Mouth - In addition to lesions, many people who are diagnosed with lupus also notice issues with dry mouth. Patients may be properly hydrated, and yet there will be no saliva or little saliva present in the mouth.
  • Increase Risk of Gum Disease - With many sores and issues with dry mouth, lupus can make cases of gum disease more likely to occur. The oral bacteria in the mouth can get out of hand, leading to advanced periodontal health problems.

You'll note from the above that the teeth are not affected per se by lupus but rather the soft tissues in the mouth.

Lupus Medications Can Lead to Issues with Oral Health

In addition to lupus leading to problems with your dental health, the medication that is given to patients with lupus can also cause issues with your mouth. The most common side effect of these corticosteroid medications is dry mouth.

Meet with Your Dentist and General Practitioner for Routine Checkups

Meeting with your dentist and general practitioner regularly will help you have your lupus diagnosed as soon as possible. It will also help you get any dental problems related to lupus treated in a timely manner. Never take these kinds of routine checkups for granted because it can mean a lot with regard to your overall health and wellness.

Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Bruce Wilderman

To learn more about meeting the advanced dental care needs of patients who suffer from various systemic conditions and health issues, it's important that you contact a skilled cosmetic and restorative dentist today. Dr. Bruce Wilderman will work closely with you to ensure that you receive the dental treatment necessary to address the issues that you have.

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