XLH and Your Teeth

Vaidyanathan Subramaniam avatar

by Vaidyanathan Subramaniam |

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X-linked hypophosphatemia (XLH) is a rare, progressive genetic disease in which excess phosphate is excreted by the kidneys, resulting in low levels of the mineral in the blood.

Phosphate is essential for healthy bones and teeth. People with XLH have rickets-like symptoms such as osteomalacia (soft and weak bones), early osteoarthritis, fractures, pain, and stunted growth. Dental abscesses (buildup of pus in the teeth) are also common among people with XLH.

Following are a few tips on how to maintain proper dental health if you have been diagnosed with XLH.

Do not delay treatment

A dental abscess is a bacterial infection, meaning that it can quickly spread to the gums and other teeth. If you notice any symptoms such as pain that spreads to your ears, jaw, and neck, swelling in the face, foul smell in the mouth, or pus in the teeth, see a dentist at once.

Use painkillers with care

Check with your doctor or dentist before using painkillers to relieve a toothache. If you know certain painkillers, such as ibuprofen, are not suited for you, ask for alternatives. Remember that some painkillers, such as aspirin, are not recommended for children younger than 16.

Avoid food and drinks at extreme temperatures

Avoid foods and drinks that are very hot or very cold. Also, opt for soft-textured foods that are easier to chew.

Evaluate your treatment options

Dental abscesses can be treated in several ways, including draining the accumulated pus, performing a root canal procedure, extracting the affected tooth, or treating with antibiotics. Your dentist will recommend the appropriate procedure after examining the abscess. Talk to your dentist about the pros and cons of each procedure and decide accordingly. Some procedures, such as a root canal, may take a while and require special care.

Maintain proper dental hygiene

Proper dental hygiene is essential to prevent abscesses from recurring. Some steps you can take at home include:

  • Rinsing your mouth at least once every two hours — and definitely after every meal — with salt water to prevent bacterial growth
  • Brushing teeth twice a day using fluoride toothpaste, using a soft toothbrush that is easy on the gums
  • Flossing at least once a day
  • Avoiding sugary foods that can promote bacterial growth
  • Applying a warm compress three times a day on your teeth or gums using a cotton ball or gauze soaked in warm water

Follow up on dental visits regularly

Visit the dentist regularly if you have XLH to reduce the risk of recurrent dental abscesses and tooth loss.

Make sure to contact your dentist immediately if you notice that symptoms of dental abscess return after initial treatment.


Last updated: March 12, 2020.


XLH News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.