Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Cause Dry Mouth?

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The abnormality of immune system

Normally, the immune system of your body acts like a loyal bodyguard. It is important to protect the body from bad guys. The main ones, for examples, are as follows:

  1. To protect the body from harmful invaders such as bad bacteria and virus.
  2. To help search cancer cells and remove them.

The immune response can cause inflammation inside the body. Therefore you may experience symptoms – for examples runny nose, blocked nose, or watery eyes – when you get an infection like a cold. That’s normal!

Similar things happen when you have autoimmune disorder like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but the results can be counterproductive and so bad! Something causes you body immune system to act improperly (overactive) and mistake its own healthy tissues /cells as the bad guys. As a result, it can mistakenly attack the wrong targets and cause a number of complications.

The bad news, again the effect of an autoimmune disease can be systemic. In other words, it can affect many parts of the body.

RA can increase the risk of Sjogren’s syndrome – and vice versa! It seems that people with the abnormality of immune system can have one or more kinds of autoimmune diseases.

RA medications

While the treatment is necessary, it also carries side effects. But in general, each treatment you take should outweigh the risks!

The overactive immune system that has gone into-overdrive is suppressed to ease the symptoms and control the disease. For example, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are one of the main treatments used for RA.

But as the immune system is suppressed, your risk of infections increases. You may easily get a yeast infection in the mouth called oral thrush (typically characterized by white patches on the tongue).

Corticosteroids may also be prescribed for RA. These include depo-medrone, prednisolone, or prednisone.

DMARDs and corticosteroids may contribute to cause dry mouth, especially if taken orally. Fortunately, the side effects of these medications are usually mild – for more guidance, talk with your doctor!

Dry mouth in people with RA doesn’t always indicate Sjogren’s syndrome. Sometimes it improves with OTC medicines. But if it gets worse, seek immediate medical help! Medications that stimulate the production of saliva can be prescribed if OTC doesn’t work.

The good news, some RA treatments also work for Sjögren’s. For example, treatment like biological therapy (newer class of DMARD) works for both RA and the Sjögren’s. Also, some home remedies (like chewing sugarless candy /gum) may help bring big relief.

Citations /references:


  1. mrs glynis malpass
    February 5, 2019 | Reply
    • Endi Ssi
      February 6, 2019 | Reply

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