Autoimmune Diseases and Dental Considerations

Autoimmune diseases encompass many conditions, including Sjögren's syndrome, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. These illnesses share a common feature: the immune system, which protects the body from infections and diseases, turns against the body's tissues, causing inflammation and damage. This misdirected immune response can affect almost any part of the body, including the joints, skin, organs, and, importantly for dental health, the mouth.

Autoimmune Diseases and Oral Health: The Connection

One primary way autoimmune diseases can affect oral health is through symptoms like dry mouth (xerostomia), mouth ulcers, and gum inflammation. For instance, Sjögren's syndrome targets the saliva glands, leading to a significantly dry mouth. This lack of saliva feels uncomfortable and compromises the mouth's natural ability to wash away food particles and bacteria, increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Moreover, mouth ulcers, common in conditions like lupus, can cause significant pain and discomfort, affecting a person's ability to eat and speak. Gum inflammation, another symptom associated with autoimmune diseases, can lead to periodontal disease if not properly managed.

Challenges in Dental Care for Autoimmune Patients

Patients with autoimmune diseases face unique challenges in dental care. The increased risk of oral infections, complications from dry mouth, and the potential side effects of medications used to treat autoimmune conditions can complicate routine dental procedures and oral hygiene practices.
Dr. Faranak Zamidar points out that understanding these challenges is the first step toward effective management. Regular dental check-ups are essential, as dental professionals can identify and treat problems early before they become more serious.

Advice from Dr. Faranak Zamidar on Managing Oral Health

Managing oral health with an autoimmune disease requires a proactive approach. Dr. Zamidar recommends:

  • Maintaining an excellent oral hygiene routine, including brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and flossing.
  • Using saliva substitutes or chewing sugar-free gum to help manage dry mouth.
  • Avoid foods and drinks that irritate mouth ulcers or contribute to tooth decay.
  • Staying hydrated helps alleviate dry mouth symptoms.

It's also essential for patients to communicate openly with their dental care providers about their autoimmune disease and any medications they're taking, as this information can significantly impact their dental treatment plan.

The Role of Dental Professionals in Supporting Patients with Autoimmune Diseases

Dentists and dental hygienists are crucial in supporting patients with autoimmune diseases. Dental professionals can help manage oral health issues related to autoimmune diseases by offering specialized care tailored to these patients' unique needs. Regular dental check-ups allow for early detection and treatment of problems, reducing the risk of serious complications.

Contact Us

If you're managing an autoimmune disease and concerned about its impact on oral health, we're here to help. Contact us at Vancouver Dental Specialty Clinic to schedule your appointment. Our team, led by Dr. Faranak Zaeimdar, specializes in providing personalized dental care tailored to patients with autoimmune diseases' unique needs. Let us help you maintain a healthy mouth and a brighter smile.


3488 West Broadway

Vancouver, BC, V6R 2B3


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