We don’t want to think about the ramifications of medication on our oral health – we’re too focused on getting rid of the condition that precipitated the medication to begin with.
But medications, those prescribed by your doctor and the ones you buy on your own, can, indeed, affect your oral health.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), a common side effect of medications is dry mouth. Saliva helps keep food from collecting around your teeth and neutralizes the acids produced by plaque. Those acids can damage the hard surfaces of your teeth. Dry mouth increases your risk for tooth decay.
Your soft oral tissues—gums, cheek lining, tongue—can be affected by medications as well. The ADA cites the use of inhalers, which can cause a fungal infection called oral candidiasis. Sometimes called thrush, this infection appears as white spots in your mouth and can be very painful. Rinsing your mouth after using your inhaler could prevent this infection.
Cancer treatments can also affect oral health. If possible, see your dentist before beginning treatment so that he or she can prescribe mouth treatments to help you maintain good oral health. Other medications can have an effect on oral health as well; for example, jaw problems also can occur in people who have received bone strengthening drugs to treat cancer and, to a lesser extent, osteoporosis.
Always tell your dentist about your medication use and your overall health, especially if you have had any recent illnesses or have any chronic conditions. Provide a health history including both prescription and over-the-counter products. Always let your dentist know when there are changes in your health or medication use, so your dentist can help you keep your mouth healthy.
If you are interested in finding out more about how prescribed medications can affect your oral health, contact our Westerville dentists through our website or call us directly at (614) 882-1135. Westerville Dental Associates standard is to be the very best at providing our patients “optimal care”, while making them “Feel Right at Home”.