Taking certain medications can help treat disease and lead to better overall health. However, it’s important to be aware of side effects, as some medications can harm your teeth and gums.
If you’re experiencing any of the following, you may need to take extra precautions to maintain a healthy mouth!
Some medications such as heparin or warfarin are used to thin blood, so taking these drugs will prevent blood from clotting normally. While thinner blood can be good for patients who are trying to prevent stroke or heart disease, it can cause issues during oral surgery or treatment for periodontal disease. After oral surgery, you need blood clots to prevent dry socket and other complications, in addition to making recovery more painful than it should be! Always make sure to talk to your dentist about the medications you are taking before deciding on a treatment or surgery to take precautions to prevent these negative side effects.
Some medications may cause sores in the mouth, inflammation, or discoloration of the soft tissues in the mouth. If you are on blood pressure medication, oral contraceptives, or chemotherapeutic agents, you may be at risk for these kinds of sores.
Other medications can cause dry mouth. Over-the-counter medications such as decongestants and painkillers can cause dry mouth, as well as prescription medications such as antidepressants, muscle relaxants, and high blood pressure medications.
Dry mouth can cause cavities and decay because there is not enough saliva in the mouth to wash away bacteria. Instead, the acid and bacteria in the mouth can run rampant and wear away at enamel.
Always make sure to tell your dentist about the medications that you are on and discuss side effects with them. When dentists know your full health history, they can better consider treatment options.