Prescription medications are certainly very common – over 131 million people in the United States (a whopping 66%) currently take some form of prescription medication. While side effects of prescription medications are commonly discussed, what many people do not realize is that these drugs also have the capability to cause oral health issues. Whether you see a dentist in Billings, MT or beyond, we are here to help inform you of a few important considerations regarding oral health and prescription medications.
How Do Prescription Medication Impact The Teeth And Mouth?
The oral health side effects that one might experience when taking prescription medications depends entirely on the specific medication taken and the dosage. Thus, it is important to discuss side effects with your dentist. Dentists right here in Billings, MT are highly trained to discuss specific side effects with patients and help them overcome any challenges they may be facing.
However, across all medications, there are some side effects that occur commonly. Xerostomia, which is the medical term for “dry mouth”, is a side effect that is associated with over 500 prescription medications. Dry mouth can occur in medications that treat a variety of health conditions, from a simple cold to high blood pressure to anxiety or depression. While dry mouth may seem like a minor inconvenience, lack of saliva in the mouth may lead to tooth decay, cavities, and a whole host of other concerning oral health issues.
Dry mouth can also lead to easier fracturing or cracking of the teeth. Be sure to inform your dentist when you are starting a new medication, and they will provide you with care tips that will help you prevent these issues. Your dentist is there to work with you through challenges, so remember, do not stop taking your medication due to dry mouth without consulting your primary care doctor.
Other side effects of prescription medications on oral health include the following. Again, when being prescribed a new medication, be sure to talk to both your doctor and your dentist about what potential side effects are possible. This way, you can take action steps to prevent these issues.
- Oral sores/ulcers (commonly referred to as “canker sores”)
- Gum inflammation or gum sensitivity
- Yellowing of enamel
- Infection (specifically fungal infection)
- Mouth lining inflammation
What Specific Prescription Medications Are The Worst For Oral Health?
There is no one prescription medication that is the worst for oral health, as all prescriptions will list individual side effects that impact oral health. Prescription medications also have different effects on different people, making this hard to measure. It is most important to have a conversation with both your doctor and your dentist. If oral health or other symptoms are too severe, your doctor will work with you to adjust your prescription.
At-Home Care Tips To Treat Side Effects
One of the most obvious tips would be to maintain a solid, regular dental health regimen which includes brushing thoroughly at least twice per day and flossing. Using an antiseptic mouth rinse may also be beneficial, but it is always important to consult a dentist when considering adding new products into your routine. Brushing regularly will help keep the teeth strong, the enamel healthy, and will lower the risk of infection. Flossing will not only help prevent cavity-causing particles to settle between the teeth, but will also help reduce gum infection risk and inflammation.
Start a conversation with your dentist today about your prescription medications and oral health.Share This: