Systemic sclerosis can cause major problems with the mouth, jaw, teeth and gums. Symptoms can reduce the quality of life. The disease is in Norway covered by public (NAV / HELFO) scheme with possible reimbursement for dental expenses.
Micro-stoma means small mouth. Tight skin around the mouth can cause difficulty in opening the mouth sufficiently for good tooth cleaning and other dental care.
The bone of the jaw
Bone mass can be absorbed (osteolysis) and weaken. This means that tooth roots weaken and teeth can loosen, fall out or cause tooth extraction. The problem seems to increase with prolonged illness, but is probably independent of gape ability. The incidence is estimated at about 10% in systemic sclerosis. Osteolysis can be detected by panoramic images with X-ray examination at the dentist.
Dry mouth (xerostomia)
Dryness in the mouth is common and may cause similar problems to Sjøgren's disease (Secondary Sjögren's syndrome) and may be due to reduced sputum production. Discomfort and pain in the oral cavity may be caused by fungal infection with candida. Treatment with fungicides via prescription from a doctor helps.
Caries which causes holes in teeths is more common in dry mouth. Problems with toothbrushing and other care due to reduced ability gape is possible.
The teeth can be sensitive to cold air, hot or cold food and drink or toothpaste in systemic sclerosis regardless of caries.
Dental prostheses and implants
Dentures can cause problems with ulcerations due to dry mouth, rubbing, ulceration and systemic sclerosis infections
Amalgam and mercury
It is not shown that amalgam (containing mercury) causes systemic sclerosis or other autoimmune diseases. Hygienists, dentists and workers in production have, however, been exposed to large, unfortunate doses. Amalgam is now most often replaced with other filling materials.
Prevention of oral problems
- Avoid smoking
- Good oral hygiene with frequent intake of water and dry mouth products
- Sugar-free chewing gum can stimulate saliva production.
- Suitable toothpaste (Zendium) that does not foam
- Regular visits to dentist and / or dental care
- Dental prostheses should be cleaned and rinsed daily and not used during the night
- Avoid sugar and / or acidic beverages