February 28, 2019
Usually the cause of a dental problem is obvious. For example, most toothaches are caused by cavities. Other times, the reason for a particular symptom is less apparent. Take for example the link between chronic Lyme disease and oral health in Falls Church. The bacteria that causes Lyme disease sometimes expresses itself as tooth pain, soreness in the TMJ, and other problems typically seen by dentists.
Oral Symptoms of Lyme Disease
Americans are more physically active than ever before. Millions of us have taken up hiking, camping, or backpacking in an effort to get in shape.
There’s nothing wrong with this, of course; just the opposite. But spending time in the great outdoors does present its share of risks, including the possibility of contracting Lyme disease.
Some Lyme disease symptoms, such as skin rash, headaches, and achy joints, have no direct connection to the patient’s oral health. Others do, however. These include:
- Dry mouth. This symptom stems from the presence of Lyme disease bacteria in the mouth. It can put the patient at special risk for cavities, since saliva has important anti-germ properties.
- Sensitive teeth. This symptom has many possible causes, including inflammation in the gums or dental pulp due to Lyme disease bacteria.
- Soreness or pain in the face or jaw. Lyme disease can inflame the sufferer’s joints, including the temporomandibular joint that connects the upper and lower jaw.
None of this means that your oral health symptoms are necessarily caused by Lyme disease, of course. But it does mean that your dentist should be aware of the possibility, especially if conventional treatments fail to provide relief.
Can Lyme Disease Be Cured?
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that’s treatable with standard antibiotics. Like all infections, obtaining the optimal outcome requires treating the condition as soon as possible. Otherwise the bacteria could spread throughout the body, including the teeth and gums.
Stopping Lyme Disease Before It Starts
The best way to deal with Lyme disease is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Here’s some precautions to keep in mind:
- Avoid walking through high grass, as this is where the ticks that carry Lyme disease are most commonly found.
- Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants when hiking or camping.
- Check your pets for ticks, especially if they spend time outdoors. It’s also a good idea to have them treated with anti-flea and anti-tick preparations.
- Check your skin closely after an outdoor trip for the presence of ticks.
You should seek medical help as soon as possible if you notice an unexplained rash anywhere on your body. Also, you should let your dentist in Falls Church know if you’re suffering soreness or discomfort in your teeth, face, gums, or throat. These are all potential warning signs of Lyme disease.
Sometimes common symptoms can have uncommon causes. It’s never smart to assume that you know why you’re suffering from a particular problem. Work with your healthcare providers to arrive at the correct diagnosis for your condition. That’s the best way to keep your teeth, and the rest of your body, strong and healthy over the long term.
About the Author
Dr. Sanae Berrada has been practicing dentistry for more than 20 years. A skilled general dentist, she’s also trained in orthodontics and implant dentistry. You can reach her office online or by calling (703) 821-8111.
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