Saturday, 19 September 2015

Empower Yourself: 9th Annual Sjogren's Society of Canada Conference: Dr Ava Wu, Part 3

We were excited to see Dr. Ava Wu at our conference for the first time. She is a Professor and Researcher in the Department of Orofacial Services and has seen thousands of patients at the Sjogren's Clinic at the University of California, San Francisco where she is the Director. Dr. Wu is also the co-author (with Dr. Troy E. Daniels, DDS, MS) of Chapter 16, "The Dry Mouth" in the newest "The Sjogren's Book" - Fourth Edition.  She sees patients as part of the International Sjogren's Syndrome Registry (International Collaborative Clinical Alliance (SICCA))

Dr. Ava Wu, DDS

She demonstrated very graphically how little saliva is produced by a patient with Primary Sjogren's Syndrome. 

Dry mouth is more common in women than in men. This is the definition Dr. Wu used:  

"the sensation of oral dryness begins when unstimulated salivary flow decreases from 40-50% of the baseline flow rate." Dawes, Journal of Dental Research

Some of her suggestions were new to me, like adding flavoured oils such as mango, peppermint or lime flavoured olive oil, or omega 3 or flaxseed oil to drinking water to ease the dryness. That fits in with advice from my dental hygienist to swish a little olive oil around in my mouth when it is uncomfortably dry. I'm always happy to gain a new strategy. 

She stressed keeping gums healthy, and suggested onlays rather than crowns because less of the tooth is removed. It's more conservative dental care.
Dr Wu also suggested using a warm water baking soda and salt water rinse if you have discomfort in your oral cavity. 

Here's a picture showing the difference between an onlay and a crown:

She mentioned a prescription product called NeutraSal that comes in a powder form and is dissolved in normal tap water. It is a supersaturated calcium phosphate rinse that may be helpful for discomfort relief as well. 

I followed her suggestions for fluoride varnish for your teeth once a year at the dentist, and a mouth guard at night. If you use Prevident you should not rinse after you spit it out. Using MI Paste as a remineralizing agent is also recommended - That was good news because I currently use it on my teeth under my night guard.

Dr Wu has also made a video that gives surgeons tips on doing a salivary gland biopsy.

To increase the pH in your mouth you can use a bicarbonate mouth rinse. I'm sorry I could not write fast enough to get Dr. Wu's instructions. This type of rinse would be good to use after you eat acidic food.


  1. Hi Annette,
    I remember Dr. Wu's suggesting 1/2 teaspoon per 8oz water. It's not very wise to brush your teeth right after drinking acidic foods as you mentioned (i.e. fruits, coffee, tea). Thanks for your blog

  2. Great that you remember Cristina. I have heard the same about brushing so when I eat fruit for breakfast I wait 15 minutes at least. I wish I had taken such good care of my teeth when I was young. Pretty stupid to rebel by not brushing your teeth lol

    Have been enjoying your blogs too