A man with Sjogren's syndrome is at the dentist's office for dental treatment
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Sjӧgren’s Syndrome

Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to mistakenly attack the body’s tear and salivary glands. Saliva plays an important role in maintaining a healthy mouth because it helps to:

  • Wash away food and debris from teeth and gums.
  • Keep the surface of your teeth strong by providing calcium, fluoride, and phosphate ions on the teeth’s surface.

Low saliva production (dry mouth) can lead to many problems. If it persists for months or years, you can develop difficulty chewing and swallowing, severe and progressive tooth decay (and tooth loss), and oral infections (particularly fungal). Dry mouth can also affect your sense of taste.

A recent study found that people diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome had significantly more cavities than those who did not have the condition.

Maintaining good oral health with Sjӧgren’s syndrome

If you have Sjӧgren’s syndrome, it’s recommended that you see your dentist twice a year. To maintain good oral health between visits, you should:

  • Sip and drink water regularly throughout the day.
  • Use lip balm if your lips are dry and cracked.
  • Use toothpaste that contains fluoride.
  • Gently brush your teeth, gums, and tongue twice a day and after each meal.
  • Floss your teeth at least once a day.
  • Avoid sugary food and drinks.
  • Ask your dentist whether you need to use a fluoride mouth rinse, a fluoride gel at night, or have fluoride varnish applied to your teeth to protect them from decay.

Personalized benefits at no additional cost

If you’ve been diagnosed with Sjӧgren’s syndrome or other serious conditions, our Oral Health for Total HealthSM program’s preventive dental services can help improve your oral and overall health.

These valuable services are available to enrolled members at no extra cost when visiting a participating dentist.

Program benefits include:

  • Two extra cleanings or preventive visits per year (total of four).
  • Oral health screenings once every six months and fluoride treatments once every three months.

You’re automatically enrolled if you live with Sjӧgren’s syndrome and have health and dental plans from HMSA. If you don’t have a health plan with HMSA, you can easily enroll online.

Once enrolled, all you need to do is make an appointment with a participating dentist. You can find a dentist in your plan’s network at hmsadental.com/find-a-dentist.