Many people have never heard of this disorder....for some it is a simple inconvenience, but to the more severely affected, it is debilitating.
What is Sjögren's Syndrome?
Sjögren's syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disease in which a person’s white blood cells attack their moisture-producing glands. Today, as many as 4 million Americans are living with this disease.
- Although the hallmark symptoms are dry eyes and dry mouth, Sjögren’s also causes serious complications throughout the entire body...
- It can a primary disease (all by itself) or a secondary disease, on the heals of other autoimmune diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus and others.
- It is a progressive disorder
- Having chronic dry mouth can cause a variety of oral problems: higher incidence of cavities, mouth sores, burning tongue, swollen salivary glands, thrush and oral infections.
The important thing for people with Sjogren's to remember is to stay hydrated and manage the symptoms, rather than letting them continue without treatment. If you have Sjogren's or if you think you may have it, contact your healthcare provider and make sure you see a dentist regularly.
Often, your doctor and your dentist can work together to help you manage your symptoms.
Coconut water is an excellent source to hydrate the body and is reported by some to have a profound effect on combating the annoying symptoms of Sjogren's.
Dry Mouth Survival Tips
· Eat soft, moist foods if you have trouble swallowing or with your teeth chipping and breaking.
· Sjögren’s patients should eat smaller, more frequent meals to stimulate saliva flow.
· Avoid salty, acidic or spicy foods and carbonated drinks that may be painful on your dry mouth or interfere with digestion in Sjögren’s.
· Help prevent dental decay by using oral products containing the sweetener xylitol.
· For dry mouth, increase your intake of liquids during the day. Remember that small sips of water work best.
· Sjögren’s patients should avoid mouthwashes and rinses that contain alcohol or witch hazel. These ingredients can aggravate oral dryness and burning.
· Chew sugar-free gum or suck on hard diabetic or sugar- free candies to help increase saliva .