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The Surprising Effects of Medications on Oral Health

Medications play a vital role in managing various health conditions, but they can also have unexpected effects on oral health. Understanding these effects is essential for maintaining a healthy mouth. The effects of medications on oral health can be prevented with regular dental checkups.

In this blog, we’ll cover four key areas of oral health that can be affected by certain medications.  


Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)

Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is a common side effect of many medications. Medications for high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, allergies, and pain often reduce saliva production. Saliva is crucial for neutralising acids, washing away food particles, and protecting against tooth decay.

Without enough saliva, you may experience a dry, sticky feeling in your mouth, difficulty swallowing, a burning sensation, or cracked lips.

Persistent dry mouth increases the risk of cavities and gum disease. Drinking plenty of water, chewing sugar-free gum, and using saliva substitutes can help manage this condition.


Gum Problems

Certain medications can lead to gum problems, including swelling, inflammation, and overgrowth. Anticonvulsants, immunosuppressants, and calcium channel blockers (used for high blood pressure) are known to cause these issues. Swollen or overgrown gums can create pockets where bacteria thrive, leading to gum disease.

Regular dental checkups and good oral hygiene are essential in managing gum problems caused by medications. Your dentist can provide professional cleanings and recommend specific oral care products to help keep your gums healthy.


Tooth Decay

Some medications contain sugar or cause sugar cravings, increasing the risk of tooth decay. Liquid medications, chewable tablets, and lozenges often contain sugar to improve taste. Additionally, medications that reduce saliva flow can also contribute to a higher risk of cavities.

To minimise the risk, rinse your mouth with water after taking sugary medications and maintain a consistent oral hygiene routine, including brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily. Discuss sugar-free alternatives with your healthcare provider whenever possible.


Taste Changes

Medications can alter your sense of taste, making foods taste metallic, bitter, or entirely different. Antibiotics, antihistamines, and medicines for blood pressure, asthma, and cancer treatment often cause these taste changes.

These alterations can affect your appetite and nutrition, which in turn impacts oral health. If you experience significant taste changes, talk to your doctor. They might adjust your dosage or switch you to a different medication. In the meantime, staying hydrated and maintaining good oral hygiene can help mitigate these effects.


Oral Health Effects Caused By Medication

Medications are essential for managing many health conditions, but they can have surprising effects on your oral health. From dry mouth and gum problems to tooth decay and taste changes, understanding these impacts is crucial for maintaining a healthy mouth.

At Epsom Dental, we are committed to helping you navigate these challenges. Regular dental checkups are vital in managing the oral side effects of medications. Our team can provide personalised advice and treatments to keep your smile healthy and bright.

Book an appointment with Epsom Dental today and let us help you maintain optimal oral health despite the challenges posed by medications.

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