Are Your Medications Hurting Your Oral Health?

Do you take prescription medication? Did you know that these drugs also have various side effects on your oral health?

All medications have some adverse effects. These medicines affect your entire body and a common oral health side effect is having a dry mouth. Common problems that patients with dry mouth experience include difficulty in chewing and swallowing food, problems with dentures, bad breath, and chapped or inflamed lips. Since saliva plays an important role in preventing teeth from decay, patients who take systemic medications have a greater chance of developing dental caries and increased plaque build-up. More complicated oral issues that may arise include gum disease and infections in the mouth due to bacteria, fungus, and viruses.

Dry mouth can be relieved by constant sipping of water as well as chewing Xylitol sweetened gum to stimulate saliva production. Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar that is available in many over the counter gums and mouthwashes. It bacteria-static, meaning bacteria cannot use it as food to multiple. Good oral hygiene must not also be neglected. Patients must practice regular brushing, flossing, and plaque removal.

Most of the time systemic medications are necessary and must be continued to manage specific medical conditions. Make sure to consult with your physician and your dentist about the possible side effects of your prescriptions so you can be proactive about prevention for your oral health.

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  1. Ngo Di Ying, J., & Thompson, W.M. (2015, December 9). Dry mouth – an overview. Singapore Dental Journal. 36. 12-17.
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