Three Ways An Autoimmune Disorder Can Harm Your Oral Cavity

Posted on: 10 August 2018

If you suffer from an autoimmune disorder, you may experience profound fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain, hair loss, and gastrointestinal problems. In addition to these, those who have autoimmune conditions may also develop problems inside their mouths. Here are three ways an autoimmune disease can affect your mouth and what you can do about them:

Dry Mouth

Autoimmune disorders can affect your tear ducts and salivary glands. Because of this, those affected with autoimmune conditions may be susceptible to dry, gritty eyes and dry mouth. If this happens to you, make an appointment with both your general dentist and eye doctor. 

Your dental professional can recommend an enzyme mouthwash that will help stimulate salivary flow, which will help keep your oral tissues from drying out. In the meantime, try sucking on hard candies or chew sugarless gum to keep your mouth moist. Also, drinking plenty of water throughout the day will also help keep you more comfortable; however, avoid caffeinated beverages and alcohol because they can lead to oral dehydration. 

Bleeding Gums

Another manifestation of autoimmune disorder–related oral problems is bleeding gums. While it is not uncommon for your gums to bleed when brushing or flossing, people with autoimmune conditions may notice that their gums bleed spontaneously. This means that bleeding occurs without the provocation of brushing, flossing, or chewing.

If you notice that your gums are bleeding more than normal, or if they start bleeding out of nowhere, see your dentist and physician for treatment and an appropriate diagnosis. While bleeding gums can be a symptom of autoimmune disorders, they can also indicate the presence of gingivitis, low levels of vitamin C, or the result of taking aspirin or prescription anticoagulant medications. 

Oral Yeast Infections

Yeast and fungal infections inside your mouth may also indicate an autoimmune disorder. If you notice white patches on the lining of your cheeks, on the surface or sides of your tongue, or on the floor of your mouth, you may have an oral yeast infection known as candida.

A candida infection can cause the white patches in your mouth to bleed and the patches may feel sore or burn. Your dentist can prescribe an anti-fungal medication or oral rinse that will get rid of the patches inside your mouth; however, you should make an appointment with your physician to rule out other causes of oral yeast infections. Persistent white patches that bleed may be a symptom of high blood sugar levels, or diabetes. 

If you have any of the above symptoms, see your physician and your general dentist, such as Dr. Jon Douglas Lesan, DDS, RpH, PA. When you work with both of these health professionals, you are more likely to enjoy better overall medical and dental health.