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Why does Systemic Lupus Erythematosus rot teeth?

Lupus doesn"t necessarily "rot" teeth. However, about 25% of lupus patients develop Sjogrens Syndrome which is characterized by autoimmune attack on the tear producing lacrimal glands in the eye and the saliva producing glands in the mouth which results in a sensation of dry eyes, sometimes accompanied by a feeling of sand, grit or gravel in the eyes, and dry mouth. The reduction in saliva production is unhealthy and can promote dental decay as saliva has the function normally of cleaning teeth and also provides antibodies which can protect from bacterial damage to teeth and gums. Persons with this condition need excellent dental hygiene, should avoid smoking, receive frequent dental cleaning and checkups and can use sugar free lozenges to promote residual saliva production. There are two prescription medications that can be used, salagen/pilocarpine and evoxax that promote saliva formation.

In addition to what Michael has said, lupus and related conditions can cause the gums to recede, making them more vulnerable to infection and potentially exposing the lower parts of teeth which aren"t covered by thick protective enamel. For this reason, lupus patients should take extra care of their gums and, if possible, use an antibacterial mouthwash twice a day. A dentist may be able to cover exposed areas of lower tooth with artificial enamel. A patient in this situation should also avoid sugary fizzy drinks and acidic fruit or drinks which are especially damaging to vulnerable areas of the tooth.

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