The Effect of Medications on Your Oral Health

Did you know that the medications you take, both prescription and over-the-counter, can have a significant impact on your oral health? Xerostomia is a common side-effect of many medications including sinus and allergy medications, anti-depressants, blood pressure medications and more. Xerostomia is defined as a condition of not having enough saliva to keep the mouth wet. It is also referred to as “dry mouth”. Xerostomia can make it difficult to chew, eat and swallow. It also increases the risk for tooth decay (dental caries), and periodontal disease because your saliva has the important job of keeping harmful bacteria in check. When there is not enough saliva in the mouth, bacteria can multiply.

If your prescription or over-the-counter medications are causing dry mouth, there are a variety of different things you can do to protect your dental health. The first is to make sure that you drink plenty of water. You can also chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free hard candy that will stimulate the formation of saliva. Practicing good daily oral hygiene becomes even more important if you have Xerostomia. In this case, it may be a good idea to increase your frequency and the length of time spent brushing and flossing your teeth everyday, to remove this harmful bacterium from the surfaces of your teeth and gums. Lastly, you should visit your dentist frequently (at least once every six months) for a regular dental cleaning and examination. During this time, your dentist can check for signs of any type of dental health issues such as gum disease or cavities.

If practicing good oral hygiene everyday, drinking plenty of water and using candy or gum to stimulate saliva are not enough to control your symptoms of dry mouth, your dentist may prescribe other treatments. This could include an over-the-counter saliva substitute or a mouthwash designed for dry mouth. In addition, your dentist may recommend that you stay away from sugary or acidic foods, brush with a fluoride toothpaste and add moisture to the air you breath at night with a room humidifier.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Randy Muccioli, Muccioli Dental

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