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Gastrointenstinal Disorders

Peptic Ulcer

Oral Effects
Usually, peptic ulcer disease does not affect your mouth. Some peptic ulcer drugs have side effects related to your mouth. These include dry mouth, changes in taste, and black hairy tongue.

At the Dentist
Aspirin, aspirin-like drugs and steroids can make your condition worse. Make sure that your dentist knows about your condition. Also make sure that your dentist has an up-to-date list of all the medicines you take. This should include both prescription and over-the-counter medicines, such as antacids. It also should include vitamins, herbs and other nutritional supplements. Antacids decrease stomach acids and may cause some antibiotic drugs not to work properly.

If you have active (bleeding) peptic ulcer disease and need dental treatment, talk with your doctor. You may need certain blood tests first.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (Heartburn)

Oral Effects
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can affect your mouth. You might notice a bad taste or a burning sensation in your mouth. The enamel on your teeth, especially on the surfaces of your teeth that are next to your tongue, might wear away from stomach acids entering your mouth. If you use antacids or bismuth frequently, you may get a condition known as black hairy tongue. GERD needs to be evaluated by your physician.

At the Dentist
Your dentist may prescribe an oral rinse. Your dentist also may apply fluoride treatments and prescribe fluoride rinses or toothpastes to help strengthen your teeth.

Make sure that your dentist has an up-to-date list of all the medicines you take. This should include both prescription and over-the-counter medicines, such as antacids. It also should include vitamins, herbs and other nutritional supplements. Having this list will help your dentist avoid drug interactions or side effects. For example, if you are taking antacids, some drugs may not work right. Antacids decrease stomach acids and may cause some drugs not to work properly.

If your mouth feels like it is burning, tell your dentist. This can be a symptom of other diseases, including yeast infections and diabetes.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Oral Effects
Inflammatory bowel disease includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. You may have sores in your mouth related to either disease. The gum tissue and inner cheeks also can look enlarged or swollen. Some medicines can lead to fungal infections in the mouth (thrush).

At the Dentist
If you have frequent bloody stools or diarrhea, bring copies of your current blood tests for your dentist to review before dental treatment.

If you have been on steroids for more than two weeks, you may need more steroid treatment before some complex or stressful dental visits. When you take steroids, for even a short amount of time, your body may not respond to stress as well as it usually does. This can cause complications, such as a fast drop in your blood pressure during dental care. Let your dentist know if you are on steroids, either for short-term or long-term use, and what the dosage has been.

Drugs that suppress your immune system also can increase your risk of infection. Let your dentist know which medicines you are taking.

©2002-2013 Aetna, Inc. All rights reserved.

3/1/13

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