Autoimmune Diseases: Negative Impact On Teeth And Gums

Autoimmune diseases are those associated with your immune system. When the immune system is affected by autoimmune disorders, it begins to attack other parts of your body, including your healthy cells. Symptoms of autoimmune diseases may include a too fast or too slow heart rate, fatigue, hair loss, constipation, diarrhea, and joint pain. In addition to these, autoimmune diseases can also affect your oral cavity. Because of this, regular visits with your family dentist are essential. Here are some autoimmune diseases that may cause problems with your teeth and gums. 

Sjogren's Syndrome 

People who have Sjogren's syndrome are especially susceptible to oral problems. This autoimmune disease attacks your salivary glands, rendering them ineffective at producing adequate amounts of saliva. Consequently, people with Sjogren's syndrome often experience a dry mouth, which can heighten the risk of gum disease, cavities, and tooth loss.

When your salivary glands are damaged as a result of autoimmune diseases, they cannot produce enough saliva to wash away oral bacteria, raising the risk of carious teeth, gingivitis, and sometimes bone loss of the bones that support your teeth.

If you have Sjogren's, your family dentist may prescribe a special mouthwash to help restore moisture to your mouth to help rinse away bacteria. They may also recommend maintaining a meticulous regimen of brushing and flossing your teeth, chewing sugarless gum, drinking plenty of water throughout the day, and seeing your endocrinologist on a regular basis.


Like other autoimmune disorders, lupus attacks your internal organs and tissues, including the tissues inside of your mouth. Consequently, people with lupus are at a greater risk of developing ulcers inside the mouth. These ulcers can cause pain, leading people to avoid brushing and flossing their teeth. Painful mouth ulcers may also lead to poor nutritional intake because when ulcers become painful, people may not want to eat.

Poor nutritional intake as a result of not eating right can cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies which can cause gum disease, gingival bleeding, oral infections, cavities, and tooth loss. While lupus is more common in women, men can also get it. If you have lupus, it is important to consume a healthy diet to help maintain optimal oral health and to help enhance immune function.

If you have an autoimmune disorder, see both your physician and your family dentist regularly. Regular medical and dental care helps minimize your risk for complications related to decreased immune function, and while autoimmune diseases typically cannot be cured, they can be managed effectively.