Dry Mouth Can Lead to Tooth Decay

August 12, 2015 at 11:35 am | Posted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 6 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’m on my own in the office today, but at least things have quietened down a tad – both work and flare! I’ve been flaring for the last couple of weeks, somewhat on and off but more on than off. On top of that last week I had THREE dental appointments (each at an hour minimum out of my working day, including the travel) to FINALLY finish off this root treatment that’s been going on since the time of the accident. 

On the bright side, the root treatment is DONE! On the not so bright side, in spite of good dental hygiene, decay has been much faster than the dentist would have anticipated and he blames (‘without a doubt’) dry mouth caused by lack of saliva production, since saliva protects teeth from decay. Who knew? Certainly not me! I knew I had dry mouth, often worse at night time but bad in the day too, and on and off just like flares are on and off, but I had no idea that it could cause problems other than me thinking, ‘I could do with a sip of water’.

There are two possibilities I can think of – and no doubt some I haven’t thought of too! One is that I have secondary Sjögren’s Syndrome, which often associates with RA and causes dry eyes and mouth – I’ve not bothered to ask anyone about this because I don’t have dry eyes, and as far as I can tell the test for it, at least in the NHS, is an eye test so I’m sure I’d come out fine! The other possibility is that the Lansoprazole that I take as a stomach protector, to protect against the side effects of the other things I take for the RA, has a number of potential side effects, bizarrely including all sorts of stomach problems (seems bizarre to me for a stomach protector, but there you go) and also DRY MOUTH!

I may be wrong but I can’t imagine getting much out of the GP on this so if I ever have another hospital appointment (the last one having been postponed umpteen times by the hospital) then I will mention it there.

If anyone has any other thoughts or theories I’d be most interested to hear them!



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  1. Oh, Polly. You’ve had such a time lately! Having Sjogren’s I feel your angst. I’m not saying you also have it, but I don’t think there’s any doubt that inflammation is playing a role. I have a wonderful prescription (Evoxac) that relieves my symptoms. I would think it’s worth a discussion with your rheumy to rule out Sjogren’s and possibly discussion treatment options.

  2. I too have huge issues with my teeth. I was prescribed a spray and salivax sugar free pastiles. I have dry eyes as well and have gel for that.They all help a little. I try to floss every day and gargle with apple cider vinegar.

  3. I’m afraid I don’t have anything to add regarding your dry mouth/possible secondary Sjoegren’s, except that I also have it. Like you, it’s worst during the night, likely because my constantly clogged sinuses mean I breath through my mouth as I sleep. My rheumatologist told me it’s Sicca syndrome, a sort of precursor to Sjoegren’s. He brought it up because he noticed I have dry skin on my hands and chronically red, burny eyes. I haven’t had any further testing; when I last saw my eye doctor and told him what my rheumy said, he actually rolled his eyes and made no comment. So who knows?

    Glad you finally got the dental work finished up. Did the dentist have any suggestions for relieving your dry mouth (other than sipping water)? And, did you ever get another opportunity to take that colored pencil painting class?

    I hope this finds you feeling better, with that flare easing and your pain levels low-to-none. Sending a big ol’ hug across the Pond, just for you. 🙂

  4. Hello Ladies! CGiven the time you’ve been having lately, you’re generous to spare some sympathy for my woes! 🙂 I hope things are picking up for you! I’m sure you’re right that its’ worth discussing with the rheumy though suspect it’ll be dismissed out of hand as eyes are fine.

    Lorna – those pastels sound interesting, especially if they actually cause saliva to ‘happen’ – might have to see if we have a UK equivalent for those, because getting more saliva is what matters, so sipping water doesn’t really cut it!

    Wren – sorry you’ve got it too and yes, I totally sympathize with the sinuses – I also have chronic sinus problems and I’m sure that doesn’t help! And in answer to your question, no, no helpful suggestions at all from the dentist – although he’s a lovely man and best dentist I’ve ever had, so not griping! Alas no re the coloured pencil class – there’s no classes she’s running this year that i want to do so hopeful about next year! Your big ol’ hug seems to have worked some magic ’cause i’m feeling loads better today! 🙂

  5. I am from the UK too!! This is a amazon link for them but I get mine from the Doctors and have a prepaid prescription.
    Hugs xx

  6. LOL!! I ‘know’ as in on-line know, a Lorna in the US and I’d assumed you were her! Hurrah for someone else in the UK and thanks so much for the link!

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