What is Lupus?
Every year, May is observed as Lupus Awareness Month to help bring greater attention to this disease and its impact on the lives of millions. According to the Lupus Foundation of America, Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body. Lupus causes issues in the immune system. Usually, our immune systems produce antibodies to fight off infections and anything else, like cancer cells, which it recognizes as abnormal.
In Lupus patients, the body cannot always distinguish between foreign intruders and healthy tissue. As a result, the healthy tissue is attacked.
Five million people worldwide are affected by lupus, and 16,000 new cases are found each year. Women of child-bearing age are most commonly affected, although it can affect anyone.
Lupus has a wide range of symptoms, making the disease quite tricky to diagnose with certainty. Still, not all sufferers have the same symptoms.
Some symptoms include:
- Achy joints
- Unexplained fever
- Butterfly-shaped rash across the cheeks
- Hair loss
- Fluid accumulation
- Prolonged or extreme fatigue
What Do Lupus Mouth Sores Look Like?
- Ulcers. One of the more apparent symptoms is mouth ulcers. People with lupus can develop red ulcers on the lips, the tongue, and the inside of the mouth. A white halo surrounds these ulcers, and they may or may not cause irritation. Those experiencing a “flare-up” can develop ulcers quite quickly.
- Dry mouth is often associated with lupus but is more commonly caused by the side effects of many medications. When the saliva-producing glands are attacked in lupus, they produce less saliva. Lupus can also be associated with dryness from other secreting glands such as the eyes.
Are Lupus and Sjogren's Syndrome Related?
When all three glands are involved, the condition is Sjogren’s syndrome – a very unpleasant condition affecting the quality of life. There is no treatment for dry mouth, but the symptoms can be relieved.
Lupus Mouth Sores and Gum Disease
Our dentists recommend frequent sips of water, specially formulated sugar-free lozenges, and lubricating oral rinses. Dry mouth, whatever the cause, puts you at risk of both dental decay and gum disease. If you think you have a dry mouth, tell your dentist. They can examine your saliva and the glands and work with your physician to help diagnose and manage the condition, whatever the cause.
Periodontal Disease. People with lupus are more likely to suffer from periodontal disease than most. Periodontal disease occurs when the bacteria in the mouth change from being relatively healthy and friendly to infectious and unfriendly—harmful bacteria and waste products damage tissues around your teeth. Ultimately, damaged tissue is affected by the bacteria and lupus itself. Common symptoms of periodontal disease are red, inflamed, bleeding gums, possibly lousy breath, and in the advanced form of the disease, the gums recede, making the teeth look longer. If you have gums that bleed, it is a sign you need to see a dental professional.
How ProHealth Dental Can Help
If you suffer any of the symptoms described above, you should consult your physician and dentist. Unfortunately, only an extensive evaluation will enable a diagnosis of lupus. However, most symptoms can be relieved quickly, so don’t wait and put up with unnecessary discomfort!
If you have any questions or would like to book an appointment, call us at 855-PHD-CARE or 718-DENTIST.