Are Medications Affecting Your Teeth
Are Your Medications Affecting Your Teeth?
From dry mouth to gum swelling, medications you take can have unwanted side effects on your dental health. While you shouldn't stop taking any medications unless your doctor advises you to, you can make an appointment at Toronto’s H&M Dental and Associates to review your medication list and determine if some of the medications you take are putting you at greater risk for dental problems.
Medicines and Dry Mouth
Dry mouth is an enemy of dentists everywhere because dry mouth makes you more vulnerable to bacteria that love to cause cavities. Having more saliva present in your mouth can swish away "bad" bacteria.
Several medications can have the unwanted side effects of dry mouth, which can also increase your risk for gum diseases and dental infections. While there are numerous medicines (almost 400, according to WebMD) that can cause dry mouth, some of the more common include:
• Blood pressure medications, such as beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors and calcium-channel blockers
• Narcotic medications used to treat pain
• Scopolamine, a medication used to treat motion sickness
The dental professionals at H&M Dental and Associates can make many recommendations to treat medication-related dry mouth. Examples include prescribing rinses, drinking additional water and/or chewing sugarless gum.
Inhalers and Fungal Infections
Some medications prescribed for asthma can have the unwanted effect of causing fungal infections in the mouth. At H&M Dental and Associates, we can instruct you how to clean your mouth effectively after using an inhaler to ensure you can prevent fungal infections (also known as candidiasis).
Medications and Gum Inflammation
Several medications have been linked with causing inflamed and irritated gums, which can lead to bleeding. An example is oral contraception or birth control pills. Taking progesterone-only birth control pills has been linked with increased risk for bleeding gums.
Some medications can cause the gums to swell and actually grow excessively. Examples of these medications include:
• Phenytoin, a medication used to treat seizures
• Blood pressure medications known as calcium channel blockers. Examples of these medicines include verapamil, diltiazem, amlodipine and nifedipine
Studies indicate that men are more likely to experience the side effects of these medications than women are. However, you shouldn't stop taking your blood pressure medications unless expressly told to do so by your cardiologist or other prescribing doctor.
If you are concerned about the side effects of your medications, contact H & M Dental and Associates at (416) 977-3974. Our Toronto dental team can assist you in scheduling an appointment with Dr. Benjamin Ghotbi to discuss reducing side effects whenever possible.