April Is Sjögren Awareness Month
April is Sjögren Syndrome Awareness Month, which underscores the need for clinicians to be aware of the signs and symptoms of this disease.
Affecting more than 4 million Americans, Sjögren syndrome is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disorder that affects oral health due to its impact on the salivary and lacrimal glands. The most common oral sign is xerostomia, which causes a range of oral complications, including increased caries risk. April is Sjögren Syndrome Awareness Month, which underscores the need for clinicians to be aware of the signs and symptoms of this disease.
Periodontist and former president of the American Academy of Periodontology Joan Otomo-Corgel, DDS, MPH, FACD, APDC, notes, “The dental team may be the first to witness the signs and symptoms (such as dysphagia, dystonia, oral/tongue ulcerations, taste alterations or masticatory difficulty) due to decreased salivary flow. Treatment should focus on recognition, referral for medical evaluation, and preventive care with saliva substitutes, fluoride therapy and frequent periodontal/dental maintenance visits.”
Oral health professionals can learn more about caring for this patient population in “Treatment Approaches for Patients With Sjögren’s Syndrome” by Ava J. Wu, DDS, available at DecisionsInDentistry.com. In addition, the Sjögren Syndrome Foundation is posting a new patient story every day in April at sjogrens.org to increase awareness of this disorder.
From Decisions in Dentistry. April 2020;6(4):7.