How medications can affect dental health

Dr. Perry Patel, dentist in Arroyo Grande, advises patients to let the dentist know what kinds of medications they are taking; both prescription and over the counter. Medications can have quite a bit of influence on conditions in mouth and on oral health.

Since germs and bacteria can enter the body through the mouth, good dental health is one of the first lines of defense against illnesses. When we become ill, or suffer a trauma like a broken bone or a shock from an accident, the immune system is working to restore the body and we can be more vulnerable. Some medications, while helping the immune system, can also create oral problems. Some conditions caused by medications are:

  • Dry mouth
  • Oral ulcers
  • Bleeding

Even when brushing and flossing regularly, these conditions make the gums, teeth and entire mouth more vulnerable to gum disease, cavities, and even bad breath. The Arroyo Grande dentist can give you advice for oral care practices that help control the troubling conditions caused by medications.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is more than just annoying. Saliva actually helps prevent the bacteria that causes plaque, which leads to gum disease. A dry mouth is a more hospitable environment for these kinds of bacteria. Gums are more likely to become irritated in a dry mouth, making them more likely to become infected.

Drinking water and staying hydrated is always a good thing. Avoid dehydrating beverages. Chewing sugarless gum can stimulate more saliva. Find a gum that is carrying the American Dental Association (ADA) seal.

Oral Ulcers

More commonly referred to as “canker sores”, oral ulcers can be caused by blood pressure medication, oral contraceptives, immunosuppressive medications and chemotherapy.

For instant relief from these canker sores, the Arroyo Grande dentist, Dr. Patel, recommends dissolving some salt into a warm glass of water and swishing it around in your mouth for a few moments. Contact your dentist as soon as possible after noticing a canker sore to get advice for not irritating the sores or mouth while still keeping up with a good dental health program.

Excessive and Unusual bleeding

Aspirin or blood thinners may also contribute to excessive and unusual bleeding. Blood thinners slow the clotting of blood, which creates situations for excessive bleeding.
It's important to maintain your flossing and brushing habits. A conversation with your dentist can provide you with a dental care practices to help reduce the bleeding.

Dr. Patel and his professional staff are always ready to help with the entire family’s oral health. From baby’s first tooth to seniors, contact Dr. Patel’s office to ask questions and to make an appointment.