Sjogren's Strong


Keep Your Smile

In this episode, “Keep Your Smile” Lupe & Brian talk about dental issues Lupe is experiencing and review Oral Hygiene for those with Sjogren’s Syndrome.
It’s easy to get complacent and lax on the caring for your teeth from time to time. This is a good review of some products and tip’s and tricks to help you keep your smile.

Keep Your Smile

Lupe & Brian:     Welcome to another episode of Sjogren’s Strong.

Brian:    This is Brian.

Lupe:     And this is Lupe.

Brian:    And this is your weekly podcast discussing how to live an active and healthy lifestyle despite a diagnosis of Sjogren’s Syndrome.

Lupe:     We’d like to start off the show by thanking all our new followers and listeners and everybody in the Living Sjogren’s Strong community, all the new members.

Brian:    And hats off to that community. It’s awesome to see an alert come on my phone that somebody posted something new and by the time I get there, three or four people have commented, giving awesome advice and encouraging that individual with the question or comment.


Brian:    The community is only as strong as our weakest link and we really don’t have one right now. Everybody’s doing a great job pitching in and taking care of one another in Living Sjogren’s Strong.

Lupe:     I love it. That’s what we wanted and that’s what…

Brian:    Her hands are circling. She’s waxing on waxing off.

Lupe:     I’m trying to find the right word, but sometimes words just escape me. It’s awesome.

Lupe:     For those following on Instagram, you know that I’ve been posting a lot about my teeth. I think I have like three or four posts about my teeth. So a few episodes ago I said that I had found a couple of cavities, which turned out not to be cavities at all.

Brian:    Yeah, it ended up being just a little buildup. Right?

Lupe:     Yep. Which I’ve never experienced before because I am a super freak when it comes to my teeth and I always brush and floss, but apparently I hadn’t been doing that too well.

Brian:    Which teeth do you floss?

Lupe:     Only the ones that want to keep. ALL OF THEM! Actually, that’s really funny because when I was younger I went to the dentist and they’re like, oh, you have to floss your teeth.

Lupe:     Ah, do I have to floss all of them? Nope. Just the ones you want to keep.

Lupe:     But apparently I wasn’t doing a good job because I got buildup or whatever it is that I thought were cavities, but that’s all gone. My pearly whites are back except for that, big time, infection on one of my molars.

Brian:    So over the course of the past few days, we’ve been diving into a lot of oral care issues and we actually identified some things that needed to be fixed within the house, some habits. And we wanted to talk this week about that.

Brian:    For example, she has a Waterpik that she utilizes to help clean her teeth. And she says, hey, the battery’s not keeping a charge any longer. Can we get a new one?

Lupe:     And he says, sure, why not?

Brian:    So we go get a new one. And not only was the battery not keeping a charge, but the pump pushing the water through it was also decreasing in power. So she turns this thing on, start squirting in her mouth and?

Lupe:     Magic.

Brian:    There was so much more pressure then she had been used to and the pressure had gradually reduced over time that it wasn’t noticeable.

Lupe:     So, uh, let me back it up a little bit, Brian. I went to the dentist on Tuesday, which was last week, last Tuesday. The dentist is like, oh, don’t worry about it, you know, what I thought was a cavity, that’ll be gone before you leave the office, which I was really excited about. But one of my molars, I think the infection has been doing for a long time because I think a couple of visits ago, she told me, you need to have that check. Now I’m thinking to myself, what doesn’t hurt? Nothing’s going on that I know of.

Brian:    She took a page out of my playbook.

Brian:    So, I didn’t do anything with it. And it still doesn’t hurt. The molar she was talking about doesn’t hurt. Uh, she took x-rays and she said, you need to go see a specialist, which they have at that same office on Saturdays only.

Lupe:     So she said, we’re going to make you an appointment with a specialist and you need to come back, because I’m pretty positive that, that tooth needs to be extracted. And I’m like, ugh, I almost canceled the appointment, guys, but I already had it. So I thought, you know what, I’m just going to go.

Lupe:     As soon as the specialist saw it, I don’t know what kind of specialist it’s called, so let’s just call him a doc. And he says that tooth needs to be pulled. But, um, he wanted me to take a 3d X-ray, which was pretty cool, guys. They put me, like, just my head in this contraption thing and it spun around my head taking a 3D image.

Brian:    And you can even see her earrings.

Lupe:     Oh shoot. Uh, they told me, just take the hoops out, no need to take the diamond studs out, that I wear. And I said, um, well, I’m wearing bobby pins. Do I need to take those out? And he’s like, don’t worry about it. Only if your head explodes, then we’ll know. And I said, oh my God, if my head explodes, please take a video so I could post it.

Brian:    No video of head exploding.

Lupe:     It didn’t explode. But, um, anyways, they took the 3d x-rays and the doctor came back and he said, we can’t save it and needs to be extracted. And I said, why? And he said, well, the crown looks pretty good. They did a really good job, but the root is broken. And I told him, well, why don’t you just fix it and seal it? We don’t need to pull it. But I guess it doesn’t work that way.

Brian:    And that’s why Lupe is not a dentist.

Lupe:     Come on guys, I’ve never had a tooth extracted. So I was a little bit bummed, but I didn’t cry, no more crying for me. This is what he said to me, he said, well, your tooth, it’s still pretty effected, so I’m going to give you another round of antibiotics.

Lupe:     And I said, doc, no need to do that. Because I didn’t even start the first round .

Brian:    Bad patient.

Lupe:     Because it didn’t hurt, and so.

Brian:    Because she’s smarter than the dentists.

Lupe:     That’s right, I’m smarter. It didn’t hurt. I didn’t take the antibiotics, but mainly I didn’t take them because those things were huge. Big horse pills.

Brian:    So, if you’ve been listening, while we know she has an issue swallowing pills and she has a pill grinder and a pill splitter. And yes she did not cry, but she came home acting like a little baby, will you please make my medicine? I’m like, really? You know how to grind pills and just put a little orange juice in it, shoot it and chase it with some more orange juice and your golden.

Lupe:     Some pills just tastes nasty, especially antibiotics.

Brian:    So I grind this massive pill up.

Lupe:     Horse pill. And it’s a thousand milligrams. So you know it’s big.

Brian:    And it’s amoxicillin, correct?

Lupe:     Yes, and I’m sorry, not milligrams, mg’s.

Brian:    That’s milligrams.

Lupe:     Oh, ok, I’m not a whatever, either.

Brian:    Pharmacist. We need Dr. Wong back on the show.

Lupe:     Yeah.

Brian:    So, I grind this thing up and I grind it really, really good. I want it nice and fine. So it dissolves pretty well in the orange juice.

Brian:    We have a little shot glass, add just, you know, half of an ounce of orange juice in it, stir and stir and stir it. And it’s this orangy milky looking stuff. It’s no clumps in it. It’s pretty much all liquid at this point. And I’m like, there you go. Take it.

Brian:    She’s like, oh I don’t want to. I’m like, oh my goodness. Quit acting like a baby and take your meds.

Lupe:     Cause I was expecting it to taste just nasty and make me want to puke.

Brian:    And how did it taste in the orange juice?

Lupe:     And you didn’t even add sugar. I asked you to add sugar and you didn’t.

Brian:    Cause there’s enough acid and enough sugar in the orange juice. I said try it.

Lupe:     Long story short, it didn’t taste bad at all. And uh, I’m sorry I didn’t take it sooner. I’m embarrassed. This is my embarrassed face.

Brian:    So, you’ve been, uh, faithfully taking the meds for a couple of days.

Lupe:     So, I started yesterday, uh, two days. And you know what? The infection has gone down significantly, to where the side of my face on the right side, it will starting to swell up a little bit because I know we’re not symmetrical, but it was kind of out there and I’m like, what’s going on with my face? Maybe it was, uh, the inflammation that I was talking about, right?

Lupe:     But, um, actually the gums have gone down so much. It’s going back to normal. So, oh my goodness, an infection. But the problem is that didn’t hurt. So how could I have an infection if it doesn’t hurt? That was my train of thought, anyways.

Brian:    This whole thing has brought up the point that we need to take a peek at what we’re doing for oral hygiene. And we went back and we reviewed some notes and the first thing that I think is funny, they say brush and floss twice a day and then later on brush and floss after every meal. So is that five times a day?

Lupe:     Did you five times a day?

Brian:    Well, it says twice a day and then after every meal, that’d be five times a day.

Lupe:     I don’t think you could floss or brush too much, can you?

Brian:    Apparently not. In addition to brushing and flossing, the toothpaste that is used for those of us with Sjogren’s should have fluoride, should not be whitening or a smokers toothpaste. We do not want toothpaste with sodium lauryl sulfate in it because it can dry your mouth out and exacerbate the dry mouth.

Lupe:     Ah, random, what is smokers toothpaste? For smokers?

Brian:    Yeah. It’s a toothpaste developed for smokers to mask the scent of the smell.

Lupe:     Didn’t know that was a thing. But, um, so to brush my teeth I use Biotene, that works well for me. I’ve run out sometimes and I use Brian’s toothpaste and it really burns my gums, my tongue, my mouth. It just burns.

Brian:    I like mint.

Lupe:     You know what, I read that ah, you shouldn’t use minty toothpaste. And that came from that website we were on, I forget.

Brian:    It was the John Hopkins Sjogren’s Center website.

Lupe:     I did not know that. I personally don’t prefer mint, I just liked the regular one. But ah, it was interesting to see that cause a lot of people that I’ve been talking to via social media, um, they don’t prefer mint either.

Brian:    So, in addition to all of that, um, they recommend talking to your dentist about a prescription fluoride toothpaste and or fluoride treatments while you are in the office.

Lupe:     I want to say something about that. I’ve been to two dentists probably in the past 10 years cause I liked sticking with the same dentist. And, uh, but the one that I had many years ago, um, I asked about fluoride toothpaste or a fluoride treatment and they said it’s really expensive to get a prescription just buy Colgate or whatever it was, they told me at the time to buy. And they said just to make sure it has fluoride.

Lupe:     This dentist that I went to on Saturday, I said the same thing and they said they don’t do that. Just make sure to buy toothpaste with fluoride, which I thought was weird, but okay. I mean, they’re the experts, right? So I just said, okay,

Brian:    In addition to the fluoride treatment, having dry mouth promotes an unhealthy mouth. So it can increase tooth decay and issues with your gums and bad breathe and all of that. So, utilizing lozenges, gums, sprays, oral rinses for dry mouth, will combat this and help keep the teeth nice and clean and your mouth moist.

Brian:    And in addition to that, recommended were diabetic candies or dietetic candy. So, these are sugar-free hard candies that can be used as a lozenge. And then being sugar-free are going to help keep the teeth nice and clean and reduce the calories from these candies throughout the day.

Lupe:     I want to, I want to talk about those lozenges, I’ve bought ACT lozenges and I recently bought Biotene lozenges and even, uh, like cough drops that claim not to have sugar. I mean I don’t taste the sugar, but I feel like when I have the lozenges in my mouth or the cough drops, I can feel something sticky in my mouth because I don’t put the saliva and I don’t know what it is. So I prefer not to use them cause I don’t like that feeling.

Brian:    And I think it’s the xylitol and I think it’s just something that you need to get used to because it’s supposed to coat the mouth.

Lupe:     Ah, okay. Because that’s what I feel. I feel it’s coating it with something sticky or maybe I’m not used to saliva anymore. So that’s why…

Brian:    It feels different and awkward.

Lupe:     Yeah. Yeah. But I’ll, I’ll give it a shot.

Brian:    In addition to all of this? Um, like I said at the beginning of the show, we’ve reintroduced a new Waterpik.

Lupe:     I love this Waterpik. I think for a while there I kind of stopped using it. Uh, but since all these problems started, I mean, I thought I was taking really good care of my teeth and my gums and my mouth, but uh, apparently not.

Lupe:     So, when I noticed that, um, my Waterpik wasn’t keeping a charge, we actually went, over the weekend, and bought a new one and this thing is so powerful. I’m sorry I stopped using it, that I waited so long.

Brian:    What brand was it?

Lupe:     I think that’s the brand Waterpik. And we got it at Target for like.

Brian:    $35 bucks?

Lupe:     $35, $40. Because we had gone to Costco and they had like the dual electric one and cordless one. And I’m thinking, well, I don’t need two, why do I need two? So I just went to Target and bought the one I needed.

Brian:    Right, which is the exact same model that you had.

Lupe:     Yes, yes.

Brian:    And it comes with four different tips. Some have bristles on them so you can kind of get in and massage the gums, why it’s irrigated or rinsing the gums out.

Lupe:     Or if you have braces.

Brian:    Or if you have braces, good pull. That’s probably what it was designed for.

Lupe:     Yeah.

Brian:    Yeah. It’s fun to grab and shoot her with it.

Lupe:     He did do that.

Brian:    I can’t wait for the dogs to come watch, see how they like it.

Lupe:     I even hid behind the shower curtain, but uh, it was funny.

Lupe:     Um, going back to whitening your teeth or using the toothpaste, I haven’t in a while, but because I do like taking care of my teeth, I do use those whitening strips. Um, and those don’t seem to be as harsh on your gums or your teeth as the toothpaste.

Lupe:     Because a few months ago, I did notice that my teeth weren’t as white as they used to be or as I like them to be. And I did buy a whitening toothpaste and I noticed that my gums, my mouth was so dry and I just could not put my finger on it until the last time that I used it. And I realized, oh my gosh, it’s this toothpaste that’s making my mouth dryer. So I actually stopped using it.

Brian:    And I think if you went back to the strips and utilize the strips, but when you remove the strips, rinse your mouth out really good and then utilize Moisyn to coat your mouth and get a lozenge in right away to help combat the drying effects of the whitening strips.

Lupe:     Yeah, I think mainly it was the toothpaste, the strips.

Brian:    Not so bad.

Lupe:     I haven’t used them in a while, but I think they were OK.

Brian:    Awesome. Um, and then in addition to that, something we’re actually going to do once we hit stop recording on this episode is, we’re going to go back to either Target or Walmart and purchase a new electric toothbrush.

Lupe:     It’s going to be Target, you know why?

Brian:    Probably cause there’s a piece of clothing you want that you saw and they didn’t have the color you wanted at the Target you were at.

Lupe:     Exactly. They only had pink and canary and I actually want a green one.

Brian:    And if you were OD green clothing, it helps promote a healthy mouth.

Lupe:     He’s just being funny. But yeah, you know what? Now that you mention it, it’s true. So I have to get it.

Brian:    Doctor prescribed. And I think it’s just a contrast between OD green and white teeth.

Lupe:     I think you all should do that.

Brian:    All right. So again, oral care, it’s obviously important. The last support group we were at, there were people there that were talking about the dental issues that they have and how bad they were. And that tooth loss can become an issue and we’re trying to do everything we can to curve that with Lupe.

Lupe:     You know what? I didn’t think that my teeth were so bad. But now that I think about it, I actually have two crowns and I’ve had him for about maybe 8-10 years. And hindsight, it was probably dry mouth that I didn’t know about. But I’m definitely doing everything that I can.

Lupe:     I wanted to talk about one more thing. The website that we were on, they were talking about cavities and it was talking about how to prevent them and it said something about if you’re at risk for cavities, you should rinse your mouth with mouthwash, 1-2 minutes right before your bedtime, which usually they don’t encourage. But again, if you’re at risk for cavities 1-2 minutes before bedtime. So, I’m going to start doing that too. If I don’t fall asleep before, which I probably will.

Brian:    For those of you that are wondering about the posts that she’s been posting regarding her dental care, we kind of tend to post different things on the different social media platforms. So a lot of the day to day and what she’s actually going through is on Instagram. So if you do not follow us on Instagram, go hit us up. We are @SjogrensStrong and or Facebook, we are Sjogren’s Strong, and we have a Facebook group called Living Sjogren’s Strong. You’re welcome to join that group and follow us there.

Brian:    And let me caution you, if you join the group, a couple of questions are going to pop up. If you do not answer the questions, you will not get into the group. So please, if you take the time to go to the group and say, join the group, just take a couple of seconds to answer these questions so we can ensure that you’re a great fit for the group.

Lupe:     And um, about Facebook, I tend not to post the day today on Facebook because I don’t know, part of me feels that that’s not what people want to see on Facebook. They want to see tips and tricks and what helps.

Lupe:     And I don’t know if that’s the right thing to post on Facebook, but if you only follow us on Facebook and you would like me to start posting about my day to day life, uh, what I’m going through with Sjogren’s, if you could send a private message via Facebook, just let me know and I will definitely start posting about it.

Brian:    Yeah. In last week’s episode, consider the source. If you did not hear that, please go back and listen to last week’s episode. The information we utilized for this week’s episode was found on the John Hopkins Sjogren’s Centers website, and there’ll be a link to that in the show notes, along with a link to join Team Living Sjogren’s Strong to support the 2019 LA Area Walk for Sjogren’s.

Brian:    Please, if you’re local, join us if you’re not local, support us. If you would like a walk in your area, shoot us a private message and let us know and we will put you in touch with the people at the foundation that can help you start a walk for Sjogren’s in your area.

Lupe:     Absolutely. As we mentioned last week, a lot of people are hitting us up and asking us to come to where they’re at and do a walk. So again, we’re definitely going to pass that along to the foundation.

Lupe:     So, to end this, take care of your teeth, take care of your mouth. You only have this set for the rest of your life. Take care of them.

Lupe:     Until next time. Sip constantly and stay hydrated.


Johns Hopkins Sjogren’s Center –

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