Dry Mouth in Sjogren’s Disease
So many people have a delayed diagnosis of Sjogren’s Disease because they don’t have, or realize they have, dry mouth and/or dry eyes. That’s a real problem – too many physicians still believe that Sjogren’s is just dry eyes and mouth. The complexity of Sjogren’s leads to delayed diagnosis for many patients. This allows the disease to progress and leaves someone with symptoms with no answers and lots of frustration.
That was a particular problem for me – I had low-level dryness in my eyes and mouth for decades but had no idea. I simply didn’t detect it because that was all I knew. I distinctly remember one conversation with a doctor about some of my symptoms, when she said “Well if you don’t have dry eyes or dry mouth, it’s not Sjogren’s. That was years before I was finally diagnosed.
To hear more about my specific story with what I thought was “lack of dryness”, check out my talk with Dr. Kara Wada on her podcast “Becoming Immune Confident“.
When I was first diagnosed with Sjogren’s, I thought I would get treatment, feel better, and be on my merry way. Little did I know at that time that Sjogren’s has no designated treatment (we get what’s made for Lupus and Arthritis), and nothing is particularly effective.
That’s why we still have to live with symptoms and manage them as best we can.
Signs of dry mouth
With or without a Sjogren’s diagnosis, dry mouth may be a problem. If you’re not sure if it applies to you, here are some signs of dry mouth:
Mayo Clinic, Feb 1, 2018
- Saliva seems thick and stringy
- Bad breath (even when you keep up good oral hygiene)
- Difficulty chewing, speaking, or swallowing
- Dry or sore throat and hoarseness
- Dry or grooved tongue
- A changed sense of taste
- Problems wearing dentures
- Lipstick sticking to teeth
Products That Can Help
As I mentioned earlier, Sjogren’s progresses over time. In recent years I have reached the point where my dry mouth is obvious. Here are a few things I’ve used and what I’ve thought of them. Just a heads up, these links are to products that may provide me with a commission if you make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
- Biotene or generic, store brand moisturizing mouthwash. These feel good when you’re rinsing your mouth and can be especially helpful for quick relief. The problem is, they are only effective for a brief time after use.
- Dry mouth lozenges like Biotene or Act. I find these equally helpful (Act is less expensive), and always keep some in my purse. I use them several times a week. They provide relief for as long as they’re dissolving in your mouth (longer than the mouth rinse).
- Xylimelts have become my hands-down favorite. Lately I’ve woken up in the middle of the night with very dry mouth, even with my mouth closed. Xylimelts are tablets that you put along your gumline and they stick there. They take a very long time to dissolve and have been fantastic for me. They seem to get your salivary glands to do their job rather than simply coating the mouth.
Have you used anything you want to share with readers? Comment below!
For other products that help Sjogren’s symptoms beyond dry mouth, check out my other post.