You know the feeling: a mouth so try it feels like cotton balls stuffed in your mouth or like you’ve been hiking in the Sahara with no water.
Living like this is a chore all on its own, but there’s a lovely side effect to having a dry mouth, from Sjogren’s or any health condition, and it’s not something you’ll even really think about until a dentist starts to say things like cavities, decalcification, gum issues, etc. You might even sit there confused, thinking, “I brush and floss like an all-star. I don’t eat a ton of crap. How can this be happening?”
For some people, that’s the moment when you realize that everything is connected. That when one domino falls, it starts a chain reaction that effects other areas in your body.
That’s why today we are going to talk about something very important when it comes to dry eyes or dry mouth – and that’s how to sustain your oral health, so your teeth can stay strong and healthy.
After all, we don’t need another health problem that we have to fix, right?
Why Dry Mouth Causes Tooth Decay:
Before we dive in to the tips or maintaining, or even improving, your oral health – let’s talk about why having a dry mouth is a trouble zone for your oral health.
If we’re talking about Sjogren’s – when our immune system attacks the glands that make tears, it also attacks the glands that make saliva, which effects our eyes, mouth, sinuses, and all the way down our esophagus and even into our stomach. So, you’re not just going to feel it in your eyes, but you can have issues all the way down the tube.
But, regardless of the reason why you have dry mouth, the risk of tooth decay is the same. That decrease in saliva allows for things like harmful acids, plaque and bacteria to stay on your teeth, rapidly increasing tooth decay and gum disease. The acids can erode the enamel, which reduces the protective layer that your teeth need to have.
Turns out, saliva is kind of important.
How To Prevent Tooth Decay:
Ever since being diagnosed with Sjogren’s, I’ve been using myself as a guinea pig to test all sorts of remedies to help my body heal and keep my teeth from decaying. Some have worked; others have not. I’m only sharing the tips that have actually worked for me. In fact, in 7 years, I have only had one cavity that needed to be drilled and my dentist repeatedly tells me, “Whatever you are doing, keep doing it. You have the healthiest teeth of any patient I’ve seen with Sjogren’s.”
Now, each of us are different. Do what works for you. I just share this as ideas for things you may not have tried that could also work. Stop anything that you feel is not improving your symptoms or causes pain.
For each of these recommendations, I buy them with my own money. These are affiliate links, which allow me to receive a small commission if you purchase through my link. I only recommend products I genuinely use and have seen results with.
I’ve been through a number of electric toothbrushes, from the ones on everyone’s Instagram feed to the cheapo option on Amazon. This is the one I’ve used the longest with the best results.
I find an electric toothbrush to improve my oral health in a number of ways – one I can hold the brush on each tooth for 4 seconds, deeply cleaning each tooth and gum area, while not burning out my hand or wrist with repetitive motions. (My spoonies will feel me on this one).
Plus, since using one, my gum recessions have healed and my gums are healthier than ever. I find the best deals are at Target. Multiple colors offered.
Check out the Philips Sonicare brush here.
This one might be controversial, but I stopped using flouride awhile ago. It’s kind of a no-no for autoimmune. But, I initially switched to popular naturopathic recommendations, such as charcoal toothpaste and coconut oil toothpaste.
Well, friends, my teeth started getting worse. I had 3 cavities, one that needed immediate drilling and other issues. In my experience, flouride is better than those natural remedies that didn’t work at all. But, there is another alternative that is more natural, while still being really effective, and that is the ingredient nHa (Nano-Hydroxyapatite). It’s the mineral that makes up enamel to remineralize teeth. It also reduces sensitivity, rebuilds enamel and reverses micro cavities.
In addition, it’s nontoxic, 100% biocompatible and has antioxidants and prebiotics, without SLS, parabens and artificial colors/flavors. It’s been used in toothpaste successfully in Japan for awhile now and it’s starting to gain popularity here in the US, too.
Well, I started using this two years ago and guess what – those other two small cavities? Not progressing. I haven’t had to do anything with them. And, another area he mentioned two years ago he has stopped talking about entirely. I’m pretty sure it’s healed.
After seeing the results on my own teeth, my kids use this toothpaste now, too (there are some kid flavors that taste better), and their dentist says their teeth look better than ever. I even suggested it to my cousin, whose kids all had cavities despite brushing. At their last dental appointment – all clear. No cavities.
I can only share my personal experience here – but in our case – it works. There are a few brands that are making nHa, but I have been using Boka and like it.
Check out Boka toothpaste here.
3. Tongue Scraper:
Remember all that bacteria that sits in your mouth without enough saliva? Well, it also sits on your tongue (gross). Time for a tongue scraper.
Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt and takes almost no time. I bought this set of 2 from Amazon. Good reviews, has storage cases, pack of two. One for me and one for the hubs. I like it.
Get the bacteria out of ‘yo mouth, folks.
Check out the tongue scraper set here.
4. Hello Floss:
In the past, floss either left my teeth and gums bleeding, sore and inflamed for a couple of days (no matter how gentle I was), or it felt like it didn’t do anything.
Then, I started using Hello and I haven’t looked back. It has hemp seed oil and coconut oil, both powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial ingredients, also known to help with oral health.
Seems silly to be excited about floss – but I love Hello.
Check out Hello Floss here.
Okay, time for the supplements. What goes in your body effects everything about your body – including your teeth and oral health. You are what you eat!
I started using this supplement 7 years ago and have shared about it in my supplements I take for inflammation. I know this one has become controversial, but I found that it works for me, so I kept taking it for years. Personally, I take the unfavored capsule form, because the liquid tastes terrible.
But, a couple years ago, I stopped – mostly because of cost and laziness – and now I am going to get back on it. I want those two cavities on my teeth to heal and I’m not the only person that has seen this supplement help your teeth actually heal. It’s crazy and dentist’s don’t really know what to say when it happens.
I told my dentist at my last cleaning I am going to start this to see, so he took really good pictures of my spots and we are going to compare in 6 months. I’ll come back and update this post.
A note on this supplement: buy direct from Green Pastures. Do not buy from Amazon, it is not the authentic product.
Check out Cod Liver Oil + X Butter Factor here.
Remember, it’s all connected. This supplement helps lubricate my eyes, which means it trickles down into my mouth and all the way down my esophagus. I take three a day as suggested and I notice a difference when I don’t take it. These capsules are a blend of organic flaxseed oil, pharmaceutical grade fish oil, and vitamin E.
In fact, my eye doctor even says this is a great supplement for increasing tear and saliva quality. When a naturopath pulled me off of it in favor of a much stronger fish oil only supplement, I felt my tear quality slowly decline and a lot of my old dry eyes symptoms coming back. So painful!
I’m back on it now and I won’t make that mistake again.
Check out TherTears Eye Nutrition here.
Big fan of Amy Myers. Her book was transformative in how I understand autoimmune and changed my lifestyle for healing. Her Vitamin D3/K2 has recently been added to my roster of supplements, because I was horribly Vitamin D deficient.
According to her website, “Encapsulated Vitamin D3 and K2 are both essential for maintaining bone and cardiovascular health, as well as immune and neurological function.”
Vitamin D is necessary for strong, healthy and flexible bones (including your teeth). The super bioavailable Vitamin D3 and K2 are easily absorbed by the body. Take once per day, with a meal. Easy.
I also by AM from her site, as when I’ve tried through Amazon, they take forever.
Check out Amy Myers Vitamin D3/K2 here.
Time for an oral rinse at night, friends! I just started using this one and it’s the best I have found. No longer do I wake up at night from dry mouth multiple times. I still wake up in the morning with a dry mouth, but this one lasts a lot longer than other ones I have tried and I am so grateful for it!
Just swish after brushing for 30 seconds. Spit out. Go to sleep. You could probably use it more than once a day, too.
Check out Biotene Dry Mouth Rinse here.
Remember, Inside Out Health:
It’s important to also mention that an important part of oral health is what we are eating and drinking. Make sure you are getting enough protein and healthy fats, which are necessary for bone health.
Reduce your sugar intake, watch acidic drinks, drink coffee with a straw and chew sugar-free gum after meals for a few minutes if you can’t brush.
The goal is to heal the body from the inside out, which is why supplements help to fill in gaps from nutritional deficiencies.
Also, check out my posts on anti-inflammatory foods that will help heal your body, whip up my favorite turmeric anti-inflammatory smoothie, and check out my natural remedies for reducing symptoms of dry mouth, too.
I hope something here helps you improve your oral health!
Have a fabulous day,