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

Sjögren’s (pronounced SHOW-grins) syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to mistakenly attack the body’s tear and salivary glands and sometimes other organs. This can greatly affect your oral health.

Low saliva production (dry mouth) can increase the risk for cavities, tooth loss, and infections in the mouth. Saliva plays a major 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

Dry mouth can also affect taste and make chewing and swallowing difficult.

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:

  • Use saliva substitutes or prescription drugs that can help increase saliva production
  • 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

To help manage the condition and improve oral health, HMSA’s Oral Health for Total Health program provides enhanced dental benefits for plan members who are diagnosed with Sjӧgren’s syndrome. These benefits are covered 100% with no out-of-pocket expenses when seeing a participating provider.

  • Two additional cleanings or periodontal maintenance visits per year (total of four).
  • Oral cancer screenings once every six months and fluoride treatments once every three months.

Members with health and dental plans from HMSA who have a diagnosis of Sjӧgren’s syndrome are enrolled automatically. Dental members who don’t have a health plan with HMSA can easily enroll online.

To use your Oral Health for Total Health benefits, simply make an appointment with your dentist. To find a dentist in your plan’s network, visit our provider directory.