Dental infections can intensify the harm caused by lupus, and lupus can contribute to oral / dental problems. It’s a harmful connection that can go both ways.
When the immune system is “quieted” by drugs that control lupus, such as Benlysta and Imuran, the dental bacteria can travel more easily, spreading their harmful damage.
Infections cause our bodies to develop inflammation. Infected gums become red, and puffy and may bleed easily. And when they become inflamed, alert messages are sent throughout the body, intensifying inflammation elsewhere. So, even though teeth are not directly connected to the kidneys, lungs, or heart, dental infections and inflammation can contribute to lupus-related complications throughout the body.
Lupus and a related disease—Sjogren’s Syndrome—can damage glands that produce saliva. And because saliva helps protect against cavities and other dental diseases, a persistent dry mouth increases the chances of developing those problems.
Lupus can cause ulcers in the mouth, especially during flares. Some lupus medications cause ulcers by enabling an overgrowth of a fungus in the mouth.
This information is a public service of the Dental Lifeline Network. The content is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for the medical advice of one’s health care provider.