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Lupus: oral and dental health

Just like your whole body, people with autoimmune diseases like lupus must make sure that their oral health is taken care of. It is the window to your body so it is important that you protect your self from any unwanted bacteria’s!

Around 40% of patients with lupus will develop some form of mouth ulcers. Common signs and symptoms of poor oral health and dental problems include:

  • Red, tender, swollen or bleed gums

  • Gums that are pulling away from the teeth

  • Tooth decay or cavities

  • Painful teeth or pain when chewing

  • Bad breath

  • Swollen lips

  • Inflamed tongue

  • Ulcers or lesions on the tongue or gums

The severity and type of mouth ulcer that patients experience can be different. This is most often a sign of systemic lupus, but can also be caused by cutaneous or discoid lupus. This can be a warning sign of lupus in children; although this often goes unnoticed.

It is important that you go to see a healthcare to check that it is nothing serious and make sure that oral health is not compromised.

What causes oral and dental health problems in lupus patients

Some of the medications that are used to treat lupus are can cause dental problems. This includes:

  • Immunosuppressants

  • Antibiotics

  • Beta blockers

  • Anti-inflammatories

  • Blood thinners

  • Potassium channel blockers

  • Anti-rheumatics

It is important to note that ulcers and dental problems are not always caused by conditions such as Lupus.

If you have lupus that affects your oral health, your healthcare team will work with you to ensure that the symptoms are improved. If it is related to medication, they will work to find a different option that has the same benefits.

Here are some tips to help you maintain good oral health:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day and replace your tooth brush every three months

  • Floss once a day

  • Use mouth wash that kills infections and strengthens teeth

  • Eat a balanced diet that is low in sugar and acid

  • Avoid soft drinks, caffeine drinks and smoking

  • Drink plenty of water

  • Protect lips

  • Attend regular dental appointment and healthcare check-ups


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