For most people, dry mouth is a minor annoyance that can be easily fixed by having a glass of water. But what happens when water isn’t enough, and that dry mouth never really goes away? For the estimated 4 million Americans who suffer from an autoimmune disorder called Sjogren’s Syndrome, this problem can be an uncomfortable reality.
Sjogren’s Syndrome causes the white blood cells to attack the moisture-producing glands of the body. In addition to low saliva production, those with Sjogren’s Syndrome also have trouble producing tears, and the disorder can even cause fatigue and musculoskeletal pain. Ninety percent of Sjogren’s Syndrome sufferers are women.
Sjogren’s Syndrome can also go hand-in-hand with another autoimmune disorder: celiac disease. Sjogren’s Syndrome can even be worsened by outside factors, such as if the patient takes certain medications. A recent study found that patients with Sjogren’s Syndrome who took more than four regular medications had worse salivary symptoms than those who took less than four medications, regardless of what those medications were.
So, what can you do if you have Sjogren’s Syndrome, or you simply experience the discomfort of frequent dry mouth due to medications or other reasons? Thankfully there are options.
There are many over-the-counter mouthwashes that specifically target dry mouth. You can also try chewing gum or drinking frequent sips of water.
Your dentist or doctor may also prescribe a prescription dry mouth medication such as pilocarpine or cevimeline, both of which stimulate saliva production.
Take Extra Care
If you do suffer from Sjogren’s Syndrome or dry mouth, be sure to take extra diligent care of your oral health, as an excessively dry mouth can be the perfect breeding ground for cavity-causing bacteria!
If you have any questions or concerns about dry mouth, please give Dr. Lederman’s office a call at 516-882-1764.