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Medications & Your Teeth

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Many people don’t realize that medications, whether they are over-the-counter drugs or prescription treatments, can take a toll on their teeth. A lot of medications include symptoms that are damaging to your oral health such as dry mouth, oral thrush, burning mouth syndrome, and various gum issues. What is even more threatening is if you are taking more than one type of medication, it can be much harder to pinpoint the exact source of the problem.

 

Dry Mouth

The most common symptom of medications that leads to oral health issues is dry mouth, which can lead to tooth decay and other oral symptoms. Most patients don’t realize the severity of issues dry mouth brings until it is too late. Medications that are linked to dry mouth include antacids, antidepressants, antihistamines or decongestants, corticosteroids, high blood pressure medications and pain medications.

Antacids

Antacids contain ingredients that can weaken tooth enamel. They are also full of sugar that can result in cavities after prolonged exposure. A few ways to prevent your antacids from damaging your teeth is to choose a sugar-free version and brush and floss your teeth daily.

Antidepressants

Antidepressants have been linked to bone metabolism loss for over a decade. A factor of bone metabolism loss is the increased chance of having tooth decay, gum disease and other oral health concerns. It is important to contact and update your periodontist if you are on any antidepressant treatment.

Antihistamines or Decongestants

The function of antihistamines is to block the salivary glands to prevent allergic reactions. Decongestants function differently but are also used to treat allergies. Their properties are normally highly acidic and can lead to tooth erosion. Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste after taking decongestants can help prevent the tooth erosion because it helps re-mineralize your teeth and strengthen the enamel. 

Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids have a wide range of uses to remedy a variety of health conditions, but can also lead to a variety of oral signs and symptoms.  It’s important to keep an open conversation with your periodontist to ensure the best plan concerning both your oral health and overall health. Keeping your mouth hydrated and sticking to a proper dental routine recommended by your periodontist is the best way to prevent corticosteroids from damaging your oral health.

High Blood Pressure Medications

Many high blood pressure medications are within a class of prescription drugs called calcium channel blockers (CCBs), which can cause dry mouth and gum overgrowth. The dry mouth is caused by the reduction in saliva flow, leaving your teeth vulnerable to harmful effects on your teeth and gums. In addition to dry mouth, gum overgrowth can develop due to CCBs dilating blood vessels leading to gum tissue becoming thick and lumpy. The gum overgrowth can even go as far as covering the teeth, causing discomfort, difficulty in chewing and social embarrassment.

Pain Medications

Pain medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been proven to lead to tooth decay due to dry mouth. Of course, taking an anti-inflammatory pill every once a while won’t have any major effects, but consistent use of them can lead to severe dental issues. Open conversations with your doctor and periodontist can help decide what’s best for your chronic pain and oral health.

Oral Thrush

Oral thrush is also a common result from medications. Oral thrush is an infection that occurs when the C. albicans fungus begins to grow out of balance with your body. Any medication that causes you to have a weaker immune system can lead to oral thrush because bad microorganisms outweigh good microorganisms, which prevent infections.  If you are on these types of medications, take extra precaution with your dental health to help prevent oral thrush.

Burning Mouth Syndrome

When caused by medication, burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is classified as secondary BMS. Normally high blood pressure medications cause BMS. Symptoms include taste changes, taste loss and a burning sensation that affects your tongue, lips, palate and throat. Discomfort most likely takes place as soon as you wake up and tends to last all day. BMS has also been linked to anxiety, depression, difficulty eating and difficulty sleeping. BMS is very painful and it is highly advised to see your periodontist as soon as possible if you are affected by it.

Gum Issues

Blood pressure medications, chemotherapy medications, immunosuppressive agents and oral contraceptives have been linked to soft tissue reactions, which can cause great discomfort to your gums. Similar medications along with anti-seizure prescription drugs can also cause gingival overgrowth. Gum discoloration can be linked to acne medications. All gum issues can be helped or solved by talking to your periodontist to figure out what procedures and preventative methods will best work for you.

If you are on any type of medication, it is best to let both your periodontist and doctor to find out what will work best for your oral and overall health. Communication with your specialists now can prevent harmful results later. Contact San Antonio Periodontics and Implants today to ensure your best oral health solutions.

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Guest Tuesday, 26 September 2017

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