Dental caries (cavities) are perfectly normal in healthy people and are not, in themselves, a symptom of any illness. Tooth decay is frequently caused by poor dental hygiene and exposure to corrosive substances such as sugar, carbonated beverages, and acid reflux (heartburn).
Avid tooth brushing and flossing plus regular professional tooth cleaning are necessary to help prevent cavities and gum disease in everyone; and such things are doubly important for anyone who has an illness which can affect the health of the gums and teeth. (Also see Scleroderma Dental Involvement, What is Scleroderma?, Types of Scleroderma, Systemic Sclerosis, and Sjogren's Syndrome)
Tooth Decay. Plaque begins to build up on teeth within 20 minutes after eating (the time when most bacterial activity occurs). If this plaque is not removed thoroughly and routinely, tooth decay will not only begin, but flourish. Medline Plus.
Systemic sclerosis (SSc), commonly known as scleroderma, can cause all sorts of dental problems, including cavities. (Also see Scleroderma Dental Involvement)
People with illnesses such as systemic scleroderma and Sjogren's syndrome are more prone to developing cavities because of having severely dry mouth and/or heartburn, which can be due either to the illness or to medications. Many medications cause dry mouth as a side effect. (Also see Sjogren's Syndrome and Heartburn)
Reflux (heartburn) can rot your teeth. Make sure your reflux is adequately treated. Use SonicCare toothbrush, floss regularly. Have molds made for your teeth, and use them to apply fluoride gel daily.
Reading Voices of Scleroderma Books: Diana Kramer.
Sharing Scleroderma Awareness Bracelets: Deb Martin, Brenda Miller, Vickie Risner.
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