Medications and the Influence They Have on Oral Health

We’ve all seen commercials that advertise medications. Instead of listening to the benefits, the topic that usually lingers on our minds afterward is the extreme side effects. Aside from the common ones such as nausea, constipation, or diarrhea, many medications – including vitamins, minerals, and herbal preparations - can wreak havoc on your oral health.

If you consume over-the-counter or prescription medications, it’s important to keep your dentist informed. Many medications can cause gum problems, such as inflammation, bleeding, or ulceration in addition to dry mouth, altered taste, and even bone loss. It is important for patients who take medications to be attentive when brushing their teeth. Additionally, it is critical to schedule dental checkups every six months because early detection from your dentist can help reduce or alleviate many of these problems.

Here we’ve put together a list that breaks down different types of medications and the oral health side effects associated with each:

* Antihistamines – antihistamines block the release of saliva, resulting in dry mouth. It is possible to relieve dry mouth symptoms, but if the case becomes severe you may need to switch medications.

* Antihypertensive – blood pressure medications can cause tooth decay. If you’ve noticed more cavities than usual, it is important to talk to your doctor about other options.

* Aspirin – because aspirin is highly acidic, chewing it directly can damage tooth enamel. You should always take aspirin as instructed (swallowed whole with a glass of water). Additionally, be aware that daily aspirin use can cause bleeding problems during oral surgery or treatment for periodontal diseases.

* Asthma medication – depending on the type of asthma medication prescribed, the type can be highly acidic and may dissolve tooth enamel if used regularly over a long period of time.

* Chemotherapy Drugs and Oral Contraceptives – These types of drugs may increase the risk of soft-tissue discoloration and increase the risk of gum inflammation and oral ulcers.

* Syrups – Medicated syrups can contain sugar and this will increase the risk of tooth decay if the teeth are not brushed after consumption.

It is important to take care of your mouth regularly by brushing and flossing your teeth, getting regular dental checkups, and treating any problems that arise as soon as possible. Be sure to talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or dentist about whether the medications you are taking could harm your teeth and remember to keep your dentist up-to-date on your medication history.

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