a mouth on fire eating a fire-extinguisher

Tips for Dealing with Oral Symptoms and Crohn's

Have you ever dealt with mouth sores during a Crohn's flare? Or perhaps inflamed gums? How about just overall soreness of the mouth? Teeth sensitivity to certain temperatures? If you've said yes to all or even some of these questions, you aren’t alone. I've endured it all and know how troubling it can be.

My first experience of mouth sores with Crohn's disease

Firstly, when I was initially diagnosed back in 2011, I had no idea that the mouth could be affected.  So when I had a sore on the side of my mouth and on my tongue, I didn't think there was a correlation.  I thought it was bad luck and dealt with it in frustration.

I then noticed it happening again, during a flare. After a couple of times, I did my own research and found that, yes, oral health can be affected by Crohn's and mouth sores are a symptom.

Other mouth symptoms during Crohn's flares

I also noticed that whenever I would flare badly, I would find that my mouth and teeth would be sensitive. Extreme temperatures were uncomfortable to experience. Everything seemed unpleasant, even brushing my teeth felt uncomfortable.

The worst is when your gums become inflamed. Growing up, I always had good mouth health, so dealing with inflamed gums was a new one for me. Brushing hard can irritate the inflamed area and certain foods can aggravate it.

How did I manage these oral symptoms? Here are some tips I came to know:

My tips for managing oral symptoms

Mouth sores

For the mouth sores, which are painful and unpleasant, I would use an over-the-counter oral anesthetic. You can buy this from your local drug store. It is usually in a small liquid bottle. You apply the liquid directly to the sore and it instantly brings relief. I don't know how I managed without this. It works great for me and I highly recommend it.

Also, my naturopathic medical doctor told me to take L-lysine supplements to help with the sores. It doesn’t provide instant relief, but it definitely helps. If you want to try this, be sure to consult your doctor before adding any new supplement into your daily routine.

Inflamed gums

To help with inflamed gums, I would up my oral hygiene routine to the max degree. Brushing teeth after every meal with a high-quality toothpaste and using mouth wash that was alcohol-free. Flossing is also key for gum health. I also sure to use a floss that doesn't contain PFAs (a common class of chemicals used in products). Most popular brands in big box stores do, so be aware of that.

But let's be real, when you are absolutely sick and miserable, you don't have a lot of energy for hygiene. Everything becomes harder. But it is so important to be diligent with mouth hygiene during a flare.

Another tip, which may not be lovely to hear, but if you are throwing up a lot during a flare, the stomach acid that comes in contact with our mouth does damage. So it is important to brush after every episode.

Sensitive teeth

If you find that your teeth are sensitive, the only tip I have is to limit extreme temperatures. Anything extra cold or hot I would simply avoid, along with crunchy hard foods.

Do you experience oral symptoms with Crohn's?

How about you? Do you have any tips you would like to share concerning oral symptoms and Crohn's? We love to hear from you, share below.

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