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Fibromyalgia and Your Teeth

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Reprinted with the kind permission of Melissa Swanson and Fibro Warriors ~ Living Life.

I will admit this is not my “typical” blog. Stick with me thru the “Facts” and 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, gums, 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 5s and 6s. I brushed my teeth twice 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 6s were lowered to 5s.

So this week here I am again, another six 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 four of my numbers to 4s and only had four 5s left.

I 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 and floss daily.


Melissa Swanson is a chronic pain patient, advocate, and author. Through her Facebook page, she offers positive encouragement, medical information, resources, and support to 10,000+ fibromyalgia and chronic pain patients. In addition to her own blog, Melissa has been published in “Living Well with Fibromyalgia” and the NFMCPA “Advocate Voice.”

She is a graduate of the 2014 Class of Leaders Against Pain Scholarship Training sponsored by the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association and is a member of the Leaders Against Pain Action Network.

You can find Melissa at:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/survivingfibro
Blog: www.survivingwithfibro.wordpress.com
Twitter: MelissaSwanso22

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13 thoughts on “Fibromyalgia and Your Teeth”

  1. jdc02e says:

    I received the same comments from my dentist’ office about bacteria. However fortunately i was matched with a new dental tech this time who has a best friend with fibromyalgia. The tech’s friend uses coconut oil & hydrogen peroxide for “pulling” to help with the bacteria. She also lets a teaspoon of coconut oil dissolve under her tongue while she falls asleep for nighttime dry mouth. I’ve been trying it for the last month & it helps immensely. I don’t like taking all of the drugs either but right now that’s what makes my fibro pain bearable.

  2. Lizzie599 says:

    i used to have dreadful receding gums but like you I flossed and brush and started to bring them back but then I discovered the water pic . This is a machine that’s squirts a jet of water at the gums , quite high powered and this cleans the teeth and massages the gums. It’s brilliant. Look it up on line. My gums are now healthy and not receding anymore.

  3. KimMichelle says:

    I live in Australia and have advanced fibromyalgia. Following an illness that left me with septicaemia, the fibro accelerated and my gums receded so badly that i had to have all my teeth removed. From the onset of the fibro,my teeth became very sensitive and started to deteriorate faster than the norm. I was 47 yrs when my teeth were taken out (i am now 50) and left with dentures that i didnt expect to need until much later in life.

  4. painsux4u says:

    I am currently dealing with ONJ, OsteoNecrosis of the Jaw. 10 years of steriods for Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fosamax for osteopenia, and Crohns disease. I have one surface cavity but my jaw lacks the blood supply to rejuvenate properly. Directly, my jaw bone turned to mush. I brushed, flossed, etc. I am now waiting to find out what they can do for me. My jaw is affected near the trimengial nerve in the face. Worst pain a human can endure, literally.No fixes or cure. I cannot have any bone grafts due to RA. : /

    1. EsotericAngel says:

      Carbamazepine ER 200 milligram tablets, 1 tablet by mouth 2 to 3 times a day pretty much controls my trigeminal neuralgia, which I have had since 2008. I went undiagnosed an untreated until mid 2011. The pain is, indeed, horrendous. I could not speak. I wore heating pads tied around the front and back of my head, covering my face my head and my throat and neck.

    2. LouisVA says:

      I am glad for you that you have solved your problems without medication; however, many of us with chronic pain conditions have no choice. Wishing away pain that I’ve had for 50 of my 65 years has not been very effective.

    3. fibrolh says:

      I had issues with my gums receding. I have fibromyalgia, Sjrogen’s syndrome and psoriatic arthritis. My dentist suggested an electric toothbrush. I went from 5’s and 6’s to healthy gums that are ones and twos. I don’t floss, I admit but have come this far with my Oral B electric toothbrush. I have very little plaque at my check ups and healthy gums. I won’t ever go back to a regular toothbrush.

    4. csaulter70 says:

      I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in the early 90’s. Up until 2009 my teeth were in excellent condition. Then one night I had a tooth fall out that hadn’t even been giving me problems and from that point on my teeth just started crumbling away. I was able to get into the Dental School to save some money but still needed around $5,000.00 of dental work. 10 teeth had to be extracted from the top and 4 from the bottom. I had a nice fitting on a Removable Partial Denture (RPD) for my upper jaw 7and two implants on my lower jaw. This was all done in 2013 and 2014. Unfortunately soon after that my fibromyalgia had a HUGE flare up that hasn’t gone away and has created many other painful medical issues. One of the “evil sidekicks” that came along was the rest of my teeth are rapidly decaying and falling apart. My RPD no longer fits because of the loss of two teeth and 3 teeth on my bottom jaw have crumbled away and the rest have developed the “pocket” between the gum line and enamel. I realise the only thing to be done is having those teeth remaining extracted and fitted for a full set of dentures. I turned 46 last month and the realization of getting dentures has caused my stress levels to increase (although it never came down from 2013) and the increased pain associated with added stress. I hope I haven’t babbled on to much, but it’s helpful when you are venting to those who can relate to your situation. My pain keeps me home most of the time but now I’m embarrassed to go out with my teeth looking as poorly as they do. I guess there isn’t any part of your body that Fibromyalgia can’t get to…

    5. Coneheadd says:

      Started HRT using hormone patches(which my ins did not cover) BCA of horrible meno,just as bad as my heavy,debilitizing,painful periods and PMS.It had been around a year since my last period.During that year my father was diagnosed with a form of dementia and given 5 months to live.I gained around 50 pounds and slept 75% of the time.I have been tired my entire life,could never sleep enough.The patches helped the night sweats and not flashes but during the second month,I started having stomach pain which I soon realized were uterin cramps,soon they were the same asnI used to have EVERY month with periods.Soon,I started bleeding and could barely get out o get to go to bathroom.I used adult diapers and when I stood up blood would pour out of them,even if I had just changed it. The pain was horrendous.Once,Istood in shower with scalding hot water on full blast in my stomach and the second I took the water off the pain and bleeding started back.My stomach was fire red._Almost 4 yrs later,M y Dad passed 5 months after his diagnosis.I was primary caregiver.My husband of almost 30 yrs.comitted suicide 5 weeks after my father passed.I had to sell house we had lived in for almost 30 yrs,since I was 23 yrs. old. Spent over $5000.00 about two yrs ago.Knocked power tooth out with water pic about 1 yr ago,same tooth on other side fell out while brushing 6months ago, now the one next to it is ready to break.I can feel gap at bottom back and front lower gums are badly receded

    6. Coneheadd says:

      More later

    7. babygirl6516 says:

      I used to have beautiful teeth… Then I got sick. It seemed like it came out of nowhere. One minute I was an active, single mom in her midthirties, raising a preteen boy, working sometimes 16 hrs a day and still having enough energy for a social life. The next, I was so sick I could barely get out of bed. I was in and out of the hospital. I saw so many doctors it was insane. My family has MS in our history, so I thought that’s what it was. My aunt thought maybe lupus, so I saw doctors for both. I was diagnosed with RA, fibromyalgia and uncontrolled seizures. They say fibromyalgia isn’t progressive, so I’m still skeptical, especially since I have the butterfly rash. Either way, no one bothered to warn me to take extra special care of my teeth. Also, no one figured out until that all my meds depletes my vitamins. Especially d. And now I’m reading about vitamin k2 and how it works with calcium and vitamin d. My teeth started breaking about 8 months after I was put on my meds. Now I’m missing about half my upper teeth. It’s extremely embarrassing. Everyone should take heed of your warning.

  5. yesse says:

    I’ve never had problems with my pearly whites; as people called them; but since i started these pain medication i’ve developed what as described periodontitis. I’m freaking out because it’s on my incisors. I’m on medicare and have no dental insurance. Just a visit is around $300. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I figured it had to do with the Fibromyalgia.

  6. Mrspom says:

    Over the past 10 years or so, I began having severe dental pain after having one my mercury fillings replaced. When the pain didn’t improve, the dentist did a root canal. This happened for the next 2 teeth (different dentist) each time they were crowns. I needed 2 more root canals. Fast forward 1 year.When my crown broke, my dentist replaced the crown. The pain wouldn’t go away. She told me I would need another root canal. I told her it didn’t make sense, so I Googled fibromyalgia and dental pain and found fibro patients commonly have dental problems. I dealt with the pain for about) weeks and the pain finally subsided. Apparently my body took the drill as an attack. Next week I have my first appointment with a dentist that does Water-lase which is drilling using water. Hopefully this will help me with future dental work.

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