The impact of medications on oral health
Many of us take medication from time-to-time or on an ongoing basis, but were you aware that different medications can have an impact on your oral and dental health? For most people, there is very little attention given to the impact that their medications have in this area of the body, as they are generally taking the medication for a problem that has nothing to do with their mouth. However, it is important to be aware that medications can and do have implications for your entire body, not just the specific area that they’re indicated for; and one of those areas is, your mouth.
How can medications affect oral health?
Medications can have a number of direct impacts as well as the effects that follow. These include:
- Disrupted saliva production – and a dry mouth. This is one of the leading causes of tooth decay, cavities, gum disease and bad breath (halitosis). Bacteria like it when it’s dry, and they thrive in a dry mouth, attacking dentine and enamel and producing cavities. There are very many medications associated with changes in saliva production, so it is important to discuss this with your doctor.
- Certain medications create an acidic environment, similar to the way that food does, which can begin to erode tooth enamel.
- Tooth discolouration or weakness – as some medications can be integrated into the dentine as it forms.
- Impact on gum tissue – overgrowth, recession, irritation and sensitivity.
- Ironically, poor saliva production can also make it more difficult to absorb or consume certain medications.
In fact, having a dry mouth caused by prescription medication is a very common problem, one that can have devastating effects. It’s usually painless, and the cavities tend to be hidden from view.
A thorough dental review is essential to combat this problem before it is too late.
If you are prescribed a new medication, make sure you ask your doctor about dry-mouth side effects.
It can be difficult to know what is having a negative impact on your oral and dental health. If you’re having concerns about changes occurring in your mouth our experienced dentists at Moss Vale Dental are here to help. With a review of your situation and an examination, we can help to give you clarity and guidance towards getting back your oral health.
Whether you have just started on a new medication or have been taking medications for years our professional team can assist you with preventative and restorative care. Please call us at Moss Vale Dental on (02) 4869 3111 and make an appointment.