Do you have Saliva deficiency or Sjögren’s? All your vital organs can become dysfunctional.
What is Sjögren’s?
Sjögren’s disease is very closely related with saliva, because it is a chronic autoimmune disease, for which a person’s white blood cells attack the moisture producing glands. In USA, as many as 4 million people are victims of this disease. At first, Dr. Henrik Sjögren identified the problem in the year 1933. So the disease is named after him.
The main Symptoms:-
This disease mimics other conditions and diseases that is why it is mostly overlooked or misdiagnosed. It takes almost 4 to 7 years to correctly diagnose the problem.
Dry mouth, dry eyes, joint pain, extreme fatigue etc. are the main symptoms of this disease. It is a systematic disease and normally affects the entire body.
Symptoms of this disease remain steady. In many cases it worsens and in a few cases it goes into remission. Some of the patients experience mild discomfort, but some others suffer from debilitating symptoms.
The effects of Sjögren’s disease
The disease can cause a person’s kidneys, blood vessels, gastrointestinal system, lungs, central nervous system and liver, pancreas etc. severely dysfunctional. A few patients develop the higher risk of lymphoma.
Areas get affected due to Sjögren’s disease
Sjögren’s is a problem that can occur in the presence of some diseases, such as, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or sclerodermas which are directly connected with autoimmune tissue or it may even occur alone.
Treatment of Sjögren’s disease
Proper treatment after early diagnosis is very important, because delay in treatment may cause serious complications. If treated in time, it can improve the patient’s condition.
Other saliva related problem
Symptoms of dryness is known as oral thrush or oral candidiasis
It is a common problem with those patients who have dry mouth. The problem can cause pain and oral burning. The appearance of the “thrush” problem is red with irritation. The tongue of the patient may appear to be groove, in addition to this, the patient will have angular cheilitis i.e. the lip-corners will look to be red & crusty.
Some tips for managing and treating oral thrush
i) Maintain excellent oral hygiene and for this, change your tooth brush frequently, (if you have acitive oral candidiasis)
ii) A rheumatologist or dentist will guide you how to increase your saliva flow.
iii) Never to use alcohol-contained mouthwashes
iv) Bread, beer and foods that contain yeast should be used in a very limited way.
v) Take sufficient amount of acidophilus by taking capsules or unsweetened yogurts that has live lactobacillus acidophilus.
vi) Keep yourself away from alcohol and caffeine, because these are dryness increasing agents.
vii) Sip water as frequently as possible and also rinse each time after you drink or eat, if you cannot brush.
viii) Stop smoking
ix) If you have any dental prosthesis, you must clean it every day with anti-fungal preparations. You must try to remove them when you go to bed.
x) Consult your dentist, if you need any therapies for helping your oral candidiasis. Some patients also need some combination of treatments.
xi) After you have controlled your thrush, consult your doctor for frequent use of diphenhydramine, Maalox and nystatin as your magic mouthwash. Besides this, a mix of chlorhexidine gluconate rinse will be of much help.
Tooth decay & dry mouth have close relation
Saliva has a great role to play in our body system, especially in the oral cavity. If salivation is decreased, it will lead to many problems. Persistence of dry mouth for a long period of time can lead to many type of oral complications like severe as well progressive tooth decay, difficulty in swallowing, infections in oral cavity and combination of all these.
If you have any of these conditions, you are exactly having dry mouth. The early symptoms of dry mouth are:
a) Dental decay at the teeth-neck region or at the chewing edges of the teeth
b) Difficulty in swallowing food without taking help of drink
c) Sense of change in taste
d) Pain or burning sensation in the mouth
e) Tooth decay
f) Eating or taking certain foods
g) Sometimes some patients may have combination of all these
Causes of dry mouth
• Use of different prescription drugs which are antihistamines, antidepressants and antihypertensive
• Different chronic diseases like Sjögren’s, diabetes, sarcoidosis, hepatitis C, or depression
• Some serious medical treatments like radiation therapy to the neck and head or bone marrow transplantation
What all you need to ask your doctor?
How frequently you need to check your decay?
Do you need some special instruction for your oral hygiene?
Whether you need any professionally or home-applied topical fluoride, in addition to your daily toothpaste?
Do you need any remineralizing agent?
Solutions for treating dry mouth
A) If you are under medication and taking such medicine that causes dryness in your mouth, ask your doctor to substitute or discontinue the medicines
B) To stimulate more saliva flow, eat smaller meals and in frequent intervals
C) Take more liquids such as diet soda and water in the day time. Do make the habit of taking small sips; this will be more beneficial for you.
D) Cut short your stays in air-conditioned environments such as airplane, supermarkets and also in your office
E) At bed time, better you use a humidifier, targeting 4- to 50 %, during the fall and winter months. In this period of season the air is comparatively dry, so night time moisture needs to be increased.
F) Stop all types of smoking such as pipe smoking, cigar and cigarette for bringing down dryness and many other serious health problems
G) Suck sugar free or hard diabetic candies, chew sugar free gum, lemon rinds or fruit pits for activating reflexes and increasing saliva flow.
H) Look for those products which contain xylitol. This is a sweetener and will be of a good help for the prevention of dental decay.
I) Try using artificial saliva maker. 2-3 squirts in your mouth with an hour’s intervals during day time and in case you also need it at night time, you can take required squirts.
J) Never spit out any preparation that helps you to swallow, rather allow them to stay as long as possible.
K) Any sort of oral dryness or oral burning should be avoided. Examples are fluoride rinses, mouthwashes, or products containing witch hazel or alcohol.
L) Apply vitamin E oil to your sore or dry parts of your tongue or mouth. For this you may use punch holes in capsules or in type of liquid form. You may also use moisturizing gel. Use them 2-3x per day after bedtime / meals / if talking for long periods / while exercising / your mouth needs long lasting relief etc.