Fibromyalgia & Your Teeth

I will admit this is not my “typical” blog. Stick with me thru the “Facts” I will get to my story. I feel that it is something those of us on medication for our pain, depression and anxiety do not think about it.  Dry mouth is a common side effect of those drugs. Without saliva, tooth decay and gum disease are more likely to occur.

Individuals with any form of arthritis, arthritis-related inflammatory disorders (Fibromyalgia for instance), or autoimmune disorders are at HIGH risk of developing many diseases of the oral cavity including, but not limited to:

  • Developing periodontal disease – more than twice as likely as others
  • Developing severe jawbone loss – moderate to severe
  • Extractions – averaged 12 missing teeth in studies

Researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center published findings linking periodontal disease to autoimmunity in October 2010. This evidence of autoimmunity explains why regular flossing helps prevent periodontal problems, and it also explains why some people are affected by periodontal disease more than other people. This theory can also be linked to the fact that the risk of both periodontal disease and autoimmune disorders increase with age.

“In periodontitis, gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces (called “pockets”) that become infected. The body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. Bacterial toxins and the body’s natural response to infection start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. If not treated, the bones, toothgums, and tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth may eventually become loose and have to be removed.”

Of course if it’s a possible side effect (a.k.a. evil sidekicks) of Fibromyalgia or a treatment I am likely to get it.

I had been experiencing dry mouth for the past few years ~ Thanks to medication. Approximately 1 1/2 years ago I had been told I had the start of periodontal disease. The hygienist found I had more than several teeth pockets at 5’s and 6’s.  I brushed my teeth 2x a day but honestly only flossed for the week before my appointment.

Six months later I returned to the Dentist.  I had began to floss more frequently and it had proven to work.  All of my 6’s were lowered to 5’s.

So this week here I am again, another 6 months later sitting in the Dentist chair hearing the  lecture “Why to Floss”.

She told me I was bleeding a lot – I told her it was normal. “Individuals with periodontal disease may experience bleeding of the gums when brushing, which is often the first sign of a problem.” “Floss for a week and the bleeding will stop”.

She continued to explain “one theory is that gum disease can cause bacteria to enter the bloodstream where they attach to the fatty deposits in the heart blood vessels. This condition can cause blood clots and may lead to heart attacks.”

Once the cleaning was done it was time for Dr. Mike to examine my teeth.  He asked if he was walking in to find good news.  “Of course, I deserve a gold star”.The good news is that I have lowered all but 4 of my numbers to 4’s and only had 4-5’s left.

Ia smile is the prettiest went on to tell him he was my favorite Doctor.  Not only did I not get diagnosed with a new syndrome/condition or disease but my health had improved. Even better I leave with a new toothbrush, floss and a compliment “You have beautiful teeth” This is one of the sidekicks of our “Invisible Illness” that is visible and we have the power to control. Drink lots of water & floss daily.


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16 thoughts on “Fibromyalgia & Your Teeth”

  1. I have lost – as in literally fell out as I was eating – SO MANY teeth. I’ve had Fibromyalgia for 21 years. I’ve always said it has to do with all of the meds that I’ve had to be on in those years (there have been zillions or close to it). Thankfully my front teeth are in good shape so at this point I take good care of them. Once they start failing I’m scared to think of what i’m gonna have to do.

    1. Pam, I understand the concern. I have known so many women that have lost their teeth due to meds. I hope you are able to keep your original smile.

  2. “we have the power to control” I’m not so sure that is completely correct. My symptoms of FM started when I was a teenager; diagnosed in 1988. I’ve spent thousands of dollars repairing teeth, adding crowns, whatever was needed to keep my teeth healthy and looking good. The damage has been primarily from meds. I floss and brush minimum 3 times a day. Yet, I now have several broken teeth; a crown missing where an infection has sit in and hurts; horrible black decayed spots. The difference this time is I don’t have the money to repair/replace or do any of the work necessary. So flossing, brushing, eating healthy…those things are in my control and I’m doing them but they do not seem to be enough to combat the med effect.

    1. I am sorry to hear that meds have caused so much damage. We are all individuals and react differently to all of the treatments. I will keep you in my thoughts. Thank you for posting.

  3. I live with a bottle of water by my side. That said oddly enough “gum erosion” could be listed as what started this whole health mess for me. Back in 2006 my dentist said I needed to have gum grafting because my gums were eroding. He also said it was because of over-crowding of my teeth and I needed braces to fix this to prevent having to repeat the surgery. I got another opinion (and a third) and they all agreed so I had the surgery and then go the braces, then had a migraine that lasted 3 months… all leading up to a TMJ diagnosis (also an ulcer from too many nsaids for the migraines, and my gallbaldder went out, too, just cuz).

    1. Julie, I’m so sorry you are going through all of this. I understand…as I sit here with my aching jaw from tmj and an infection along with broken teeth and rotting teeth…all from meds and dry mouth. Like you I have a bottle of water with me always.

      1. Just once it would be nice if they’d come up with a side effect that isn’t awful. I’m sorry you are having to deal with all of that from meds. I hope the meds have at least helped you.

      2. Thank you Julie. Meds help some symptoms. What I want it a cure! 🙂 and I want it yesterday! FM and CFS along with their many accomplices need to go away. LOL Actually, I would like a pill that would simulate me being 6 months pregnant. All of my symptoms of everything went away when I was pregnant. Wow, I felt great! My son will be 35 in August and that was the last time I remember feeling like a “normal” person. I’ve asked doctors for that magic pregnancy pill. They just smile and say I’m not the first woman to make that request.

  4. Try ‘GUM Soft Picks’. I use them every time I eat and it’s SO much easier than flossing. I never floss, but my dentist thinks I do because my teeth are so clean!
    I have these in every purse, car, briefcase, backpack- just like my water bottles.
    For dry mouth when you want to restrict water: I use Hall’s cherry cough drops when I hike (less to carry, fewer bathroom breaks behind bushes). They can cause bowel problems if you eat too many. I moisten my mouth, then put it back in the wrapper so I can eat fewer. It’s a great help.

  5. Hi. I have had dry mouth and teeth/gum issues for the last 14 years due to meds. Not only do they cause dry mouth but can reduce the ‘good’ bacteria in your mouth. After many root canals, infections, gum grafts, and a rebuilt bridge, things seem to have improved with the use of soft picks for cleaning, an electric toothbrush, increased dental cleanings (though my insurance only pays for 2/year), and liberal use of mouthwash for dry mouth. And I suck on Ricola sugar-free lozenges whenever (my dentist’s suggestion). They taste good and keep the dry mouth away.

  6. Hi, I have been suffering from dry mouth for the past year after my treatment for breast cancer was over. My teeth have also deteriorated drastically and are breaking off here and there. During my tooth replacement in Arizona the doctor advised me to floss and brush twice regularly. But the way they are falling I don’t think I will have many left to floss. I sometimes keep lozenges to prevent the dryness but it returns after the mouth is empty.

Looking forward to hearing your comments!