3 Auto-Immune Diseases That Damage Dental Health

An estimated 2 million Canadians suffer from some form of auto-immune disease.  Sadly, these types of diseases often lead to disability or death.  Auto-immune diseases not only wreck patients' bodies, they also can damage their teeth.  If you suffer from one of the following 3 auto-immune diseases, your dental health might be affected.


Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect several aspects of your health.  Besides damaging many organs in your body, lupus can cause problems in your mouth.  Many lupus sufferers:

  • Develop sores on the inside of their cheeks

  • Develop sores on their lips

  • Don't produce enough saliva

  • Experience a burning sensation in their mouths

  • Experience a dry mouth due to salivary gland disease or medications

In a healthy mouth, a person generates enough saliva to rinse away particles of bacteria, sugar, and food.  However, a person dealing with a dry mouth can't produce this tooth beneficial saliva.  As a result, people with dry mouths face increased risks of developing tooth decay and cavities.

In addition to the oral health problems associated with lupus, sufferers of this disease may have other issues that make undergoing dental procedures more risky.  For instance, patients may:

  • Take steroids – Steroids are a common treatment for lupus.  However, this form of medication suppresses the production of adrenal gland hormones.  These hormones help you deal with stressful events.  Because your body can't deal successfully with a stressful event, serious complications may occur during an involved dental procedure.

  • Take immune suppressing drugs – Some physicians prescribe drugs that decrease the effectiveness of a person's immune system.  If you take these types of drugs, your dentist might prescribe an antibiotic before a major dental procedure.

  • Have reduced platelet levels – If your platelet levels are comprised, you face a greater risk for bleeding during a medical procedure.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is an auto-immune disease that affects patient's joints.  Sufferers of this debilitating condition deal with excessive inflammation that causes joints to swell and become painful.  In addition to these heartbreaking symptoms, patients' dental health may also be compromised.

A Turkish research study followed 51 psoriatic arthritis sufferers and 50 healthy subjects.  During the experiment, several oral health issues were investigated including:

  • Overall gum health

  • Plaque levels

  • Clinical attachment loss

Clinical attachment loss deals with how effectively teeth are attached to your jaw bone and gums.  People with unusual measures of clinical attachment loss may experience:

  • Inflammation of the gums

  • Movement of teeth

  • Overall poor oral health

Unfortunately, the research study showed that people who had psoriatic arthritis faced greater clinical attachment loss than people who did not have the disease.  However, the study did not find a correlation between psoriatic arthritis and gum disease or increased plaque levels.  If you suffer from psoriatic arthritis, you should ask your dentist to check your teeth for clinical attachment loss.

Sjogren's Syndrome

Besides lupus and psoriatic arthritis, Sjorgren's syndrome is another auto-immune disease that causes oral health problems.  Because patients battling this disorder aren't able to produce normal amounts or consistencies of saliva, their mouths can become severely dry.  If you deal with a dry mouth due to Sjorgren's disease, you might:

  • Not be able to taste food

  • Have difficulties when swallowing

  • Not be able to talk properly

  • Get frequent fungal infections in your mouth

  • Get frequent cavities

By visiting their dentists regularly, some patients are better able to manage the devastating effects of this disease on oral health.

For many people, auto-immune diseases affect many parts of their lives.  This sad reality can even include patients' dental health.  If you have been diagnosed with one of the aforementioned auto-immune diseases, you face increased risks for developing oral health problems in the future.  To learn more about how your condition will influence your dental health, make an appointment with your trusted local dentist today.