Dry mouth is a major problem for oral health. At Southern Cross Dental in Colorado Springs, we want to help patients to manage this condition so it doesn’t lead to the spread of bacteria and fungi. In order to do that, patients should understand how dry mouth can be caused by a disease called Sjögren’s syndrome.
Sjögren’s syndrome is a disease in which the immune system attacks healthy tissue throughout the body, beginning the saliva and tear glands. It most often occurs in older women who also have other autoimmune disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis and can be triggered by a trauma or prolonged stress. Dry mouth has major implications for oral health because saliva is necessary for washing away food debris and maintaining a healthy balance of acidity. Without it, bacteria and fungi grow out of control, causing bad breath and dental decay. Infections agents could even be inhaled or enter the bloodstream through lesions in the gums.
To test for Sjögren’s syndrome, dentists will refer a patient for a biopsy. During the procedure, a doctor will pluck a few saliva glands from the patient’s lip. (We have hundreds of saliva glands and the absence of a few should not make a difference). If a patient tests positive, they may be recommended for medication that will stimulate saliva production. They may also try sugar-free gum or candy to increase saliva flow or apply artificial saliva in the form of a spray.
Drs. Navid and Faranak Rahimpour operate Southern Cross Dental at 1855 S Nevada Ave, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80905-2516. To schedule an appointment, call 719-471-1717 or visit Southern Cross Family Dentistry and fill out a contact sheet.