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Sjögren Disease and Oral Health

Author: Mandana Tavanaei


Sjögren disease is a chronic autoimmune disease that primarily affects the salivary glands in the mouth and the tear glands in the eye (American Dental Association, 2021). Environment and genetic factors influence the development of Sjögren disease. It is estimated that 3 million people in the United States have Sjögren disease, 86% of whom are women (American Dental Association, 2021).


Since Sjögren's disease causes the salivary and tear glands to be impaired, the symptoms of this disease include dry eyes and dry mouth (American Dental Association, 2021). Dryness may also appear in other organ systems such as the nasal passages, skin, and vagina. Other symptoms of Sjögren disease include fatigue, joint pain, arthritis, sleep disturbances, depression, and anxiety (American Dental Association, 2021).


Diagnosis of Sjögren disease can be difficult as the symptoms can point to other more common conditions or side effects of other medications (American Dental Association, 2021). Dental professionals are often the first clinicians to diagnose Sjögren's disease since the oral manifestations of this disease are dry and friable mouth mucosa and a dry tongue with fissures. The oral health complications of Sjögren disease can include oral health infections, a higher incidence of dental caries, and enlargement of salivary glands (American Dental Association, 2021).


A dentist can decide if a patient benefits from further diagnostic evaluations such as salivary gland biopsy, or blood and microbial tests (American Dental Association, 2021).There is no cure for Sjögren disease, so any treatment available primarily manages the symptoms and ensures the comfort of the patient (American Dental Association, 2021). Salivary stimulants and preservative-free teardrops are often prescribed to manage dry mouth and dry eye conditions, respectively (American Dental Association, 2021).


Reference:


American Dental Association. (2021, October 19). Sjogren disease. American Dental Association. Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://www.ada.org/resources/research/science-and-research-institute/oral-health-topics/sjogren-disease