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Gum Disease Linked to Autoimmune Disorders

By Juan Teodoro, D.M.D.

Gum Disease Linked to Autoimmune DisordersAutoimmune disorders refer to a varied group of illnesses that involve almost every organ system in the human body to include the tissues in the oral cavity.

Most patients suffering from autoimmune disorders are more likely to have gum disease than people without them. Inflammation is the common denominator. In all these autoimmune disorders, the patient’s immune system mistakenly attacks their own body’s tissues. Women are more susceptible to autoimmune disorders.

Gum disease ranges from gingivitis, a mild form that causes swollen, tender gums, to more serious forms like periodontitis, in which inflammation affects the tissue and bone supporting the teeth.

What are Oral Lesions?
Oral lesions are observed commonly in autoimmune skin diseases. Oral lesions can be the predominant or minor clinical manifestation of a given disease. Pemphigus vulgaris and bullous pemphigoid are the earliest recognized autoimmune skin blistering diseases. Occasionally, these lesions can become raw and painful, preventing the patient from brushing the teeth adequately. In instances such as rheumatoid arthritis, the condition damages finger joints that prevent patients from brushing and flossing. In patients with Sjogren’s syndrome, the autoimmune disease damages the salivary gland which causes dry mouth and makes the patient prone to tooth decay.

Good Dental Practices are Key
Good dental practices and regular dental follow ups are important for patients with autoimmune disorders. Many patients with more severe inflammation require cleaning every 3-4 months or specialized care by a periodontist.

Other recommendations include the use of prescription fluoride toothpaste, flossing and the use of electric toothbrushes for those patients that have dexterity problems.

To learn more, call Dr. Juan Teodoro at Bonita Periodontics & Implants at 239-333-4343, or visit our website at www.bonitaimplants.com. Patients are not healthy without good oral health. The oral cavity is the gateway to the body!

Dr. Teodoro is a Board Certified Periodontist. He holds both Diplomate status in the American Academy of Periodontology and the International Congress of Oral Implantologists. Dr. Teodoro served as a Major in the U.S. Air Force practicing periodontics. Throughout his Air Force career he served as Chief of Periodontics, Director of the Implant Board & Clinical Instructor. He is currently a clinical assistant professor at the Naples dental residency program for the University of Florida. Dr. Teodoro is still the only periodontist in both Lee & Collier County trained in Advanced Laser dentistry.

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