Ankylosing Spondylitis and Dental Problems: What You Need to Know?

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a form of arthritis that affects the lower back. A person with AS may also develop dental problems, including tooth decay, periodontitis, ulcers, and infections.

AS is a chronic spine disease that causes inflammation in the joints and ligaments. The condition results in chronic back pain and stiffness that progressive worsens. In severe cases, the bones of the spine, or vertebrae, can fuse together, leading to less flexibility and stiffness in the back.

This article examines the possible link between AS and dental problems, the type of oral disease that can occur, and the treatments available. It will also examine the general symptoms of AS and the outlook for the condition.

The inflammation that causes AS can also lead to inflammation in the temporomandibular joints (TMJ). The TMJ are the two joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull and sit on either side of the lower jaw.

the TMJ functions to open the mouth and also allows other movements such as chewing, sucking and swallowing.

AS can affect the TMJ in 4-35% of cases. TMJ limits jaw movement, including the ability to open the mouth, which can affect oral hygiene. For example, a person can find it difficult to brush their teeth effectively and may experience pain when opening their mouths. Because of the back pain that AS causes, a person who visits their dentist may also find it difficult to go through treatment when lying on their back.

A study 2019 also found that participants with AS had a higher prevalence of oral disease.

Additional research also suggests a link between AS and mouth ulcers. The study authors also concluded that bleeding gums and other oral problems were markers of periodontitis and dental caries, or tooth decay.

The types of oral diseases include:

  • Periodontitis: Periodontitis is a form of gum disease. Bacteria can cause it, leading to long-term inflammation of the gums that can damage teeth, including loose teeth or even tooth loss.
  • mouth ulcers: These are white-reddish spots that appear on the inside of the mouth. They often feel painful and can get worse when eating food.
  • Sjogren’s disease: A person with SA may also have Sjögren. In this condition, people can experience dry eyes and dry mouth. Dry mouth can cause serious tooth decay and gum disease. In severe cases, ulceration and fungal infections of the oral mucosa can occur.
  • Oral candidiasis: Oral candidiasis is a fungal infection in the mouth. The fungal organism Candida albicans causes it.
  • Gingivitis: Gingivitis is a milder and reversible form of periodontitis.

A person will likely need to see a dentist who can diagnose oral diseases and determine the best course of treatment.

Treatment for oral candidiasis

The treatment of oral infections, such as oral candidiasis, generally includes regular brushing of the teeth and the use of mouthwashes with an anticandidal effect, such as triclosan.

A doctor may prescribe topical antifungal products that people apply to the surface of the mouth, such as:

  • oral nystatin suspension
  • amphotericin B
  • miconazole gel

Other medications a doctor may prescribe for oral infections include:

Treatment for Periodontitis and Gingivitis

A person must receive treatment to remove the bacterial plaque in the mouth. This plaque causes the disease and removing it can help stop the progression of periodontitis.

A dentist or periodontist who specializes in preventing and treating oral diseases will usually complete this treatment. Doctors may also prescribe antibiotics to deal with persistent infections.

Treatment for mouth ulcers

Mouth ulcers normally heal after a few weeks, but it can up to 4 weeks to cure. They usually do not require treatment. To relieve the symptoms of mouth ulcers, doctors may recommend the use of over-the-counter gels or mouthwashes that contain anti-inflammatory and analgesic components.

Treatment for Sjögren’s Disease

There is no cure for Sjogren’s disease. However, treatment will focus on reducing the symptoms of the condition. Treatment options for oral symptoms include:

  • stimulators for the production of saliva
  • antifungal drugs
  • OTC Pain Relieving Medication

The treatment of tooth decay depends on its severity. A dentist may prescribe fluoride treatments, such as mouthwash, to reverse early tooth decay. People may also need a filling if they have a cavity in their tooth. In some cases, a root canal or tooth extraction may be necessary.

The most common symptoms of AS are chronic low back pain and stiffness. These symptoms normally appear between the ages of 15 and 30.

The pain is usually worse when you are resting or inactive, so it may be worse when sitting for long periods or while sleeping. Movement and exercise generally improve pain symptoms.

Other symptoms include:

  • inflammation, pain, and stiffness in other joints, such as the shoulders, knees, feet, or ribs
  • difficulty breathing deeply
  • changes in vision and eye pain
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • skin rash
  • stomach ache
  • loose stools
  • skin rash or psoriasis

There is no cure for AS. However, a person with AS can slowly the progression of the condition with effective medication and physical therapy.

People with AS may have a combination of several medications, including:

In addition, individuals with AS may benefit from physical therapy to improve mobility, strengthen their neck and back muscles, and reduce pain symptoms.

Severe AS may require advanced treatment, such as surgical joint replacement or joint repairs. Anyone with AS and oral conditions should practice good oral hygiene whenever possible and seek advice from their doctor or dentist.

AS is a lifelong inflammatory condition that results in back pain and stiffness.

A person with AS may also experience oral disease due to dry mouth and TMJ inflammation. Types of oral disease include mouth ulcers, tooth decay, and periodontitis.

Treatments for these conditions may require antifungal medications, antibiotics, or dental treatments to remove bacterial plaque.

While there is no cure for AS, a person can slow the progression of the disease with medications and physical therapy. People with AS can also help prevent oral disease by practicing good oral hygiene whenever possible.

Ankylosing Spondylitis and Dental Problems: What You Need to Know?

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