Medication SIde Effects Can Affect Your Oral Health

Many medications, including vitamins, minerals and herbal preparations, can have a negative effect on your oral health. Make sure that the dental office has your most recent medical history, including a list of all the medications (both over-the-counter and prescribed) that you use, as well as any chewable vitamins, herbs and similar products.

Common medication side effects include:

Abnormal bleeding - Reduced blood clotting is a side effect of aspirins and anticoagulants, such as heparin or warfarin. These medications can be helpful in preventing stroke or heart disease, but can cause bleeding problems during oral surgery or treatment for periodontal diseases.

Taste-altering medications - Some medications can cause a bitter or metallic taste or affect the ability to taste. Among them are cardiovascular agents, central nervous system stimulants, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, respiratory inhalants and smoking-cessation products such as nicotine skin patches.

Soft-tissue reactions - Some medications have been linked to the development of oral sores, inflammation or discoloration of the soft tissues in the mouth including those prescribed for blood pressure control, immunosuppressive agents, oral contraceptives and some chemotherapeutic agents.

Enlarged gum tissue - Overgrown or enlarged gum tissue is known as "gingival overgrowth" and is sometimes associated with antiseizure medications such as phenytoin, immunosuppressant drugs such as those taken after organ transplantations and calcium channel blockers that are taken by some heart patients.

Dry mouth - Dry mouth is a potential side effect of numerous medications (prescribed and over-the-counter). Among them are antihistamines, decongestants, painkillers, high blood pressure medications, muscle relaxants, drugs for urinary incontinence, Parkinson’s disease medications, antidepressants and many others.

© 2017 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Common Conditions During ADULTHOOD

As we get older, dental care for adults is crucial. Here are a few of the conditions to be aware of:

Gum disease – if your home care routine of brushing and flossing has slipped and you have skipped your regular dental cleanings, bacterial plaque and tartar can build up on your teeth. The plaque and tartar, if left untreated, may eventually cause irreparable damage to your jawbone and support structures, and could lead to tooth loss.

Oral cancer – according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, men over the age of 40 have the greatest risk for oral cancer. About approximately 43,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer of the mouth, tongue or throat area, and the ACS estimates that about 7,000 people will die from these cancers. The use of tobacco products and alcohol increases the risk of oral cancer. Most oral cancers are first diagnosed by the dentist during a routine checkup.

Dental fillings break down – fillings have a life expectancy of eight to 10 years. However, they can last 20 years or longer. When the fillings in your mouth start to break down, food and bacteria can get underneath them and can cause decay deep in the tooth.