I hate going to the dentist. Not because of the pain (not a fan of it, but it’s not awful), but because of the air of moral superiority I encounter every damn time. Through a miracle, I have had fairly good teeth throughout my life. No root canals, a few fillings, two wisdom teeth pulled. So I have been lucky.
IBD can manifest orally as well:
- Mouth ulcers and swelling of the lips, often due to malabsorption of nutrients and vitamin deficiency
- Patients with IBD are also more prone to develop cavities– yet the reason for this is speculative- some patients may consume more sugary drinks than others (often to get extra calories in)
- periodontitis– an inflammation of the gums. This can be caused by active inflammation in your body, or be a side effect of medications that you need to take.
- dry mouth– most often from medication, it can cause a bacterial imbalance in your mouth.
- halistosis– bad breath. Many patients suffer from stomach acid coming up in their mouths. Aside from the bad breath it causes, the acid also does not good things for the enamel of your teeth (sounds very scientific, doesn’t it?).
This is information that is easily available. Heck, most of it is really common-sensical. Yet every time I go to the dentist (and at this point in my life I have data from two different countries, three different US states, and two different German federal states), I encounter some sort of ignorance. It starts with the form I fill out, and I need to ask for an extra form for my medication list. “That’s a lot of meds” chirps some hygienist looking over the list. Yes, I say, it is. At one point, a dentist told me in a grave tone, that steroids really aren’t that amazing for my teeth. No shit Sherlock, but really, my teeth were pretty low on my list of priorities when I was in my flare. Another one informed me that I should find an alternative to methotrexate. “Coffee is really bad for your teeth color” another dental hygienist told me, with the same amount of reproach as if I had told her that every morning I have some cocaine laced with strychnine for breakfast (no idea how that is for your teeth color by the way).
It’s incredibly frustrating. I like my teeth. I need my teeth, and I take care of them, but I can really really do without the extra dose of moral judgment from dentist offices.