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How Medications Can Affect the Health of Your Gums

Craig Goldin DDS Jun 11, 2017

A bottle of prescription medicationThe team at our Troy dental care center believes that the gums are just as important for a healthy smile as the teeth. It's for this reason that we perform state-of-the-art restorative dentistry treatments, always with a focus on total wellness. We also put an emphasis on prevention and common sense at-home care.

With all of this in mind, we want to consider the effects of medications on the health of your gums. As you're about to read, common drugs can lead to serious issues with the overall condition of your smile.

Side Effects Can Have Unexpected Impact

Side effects from different drugs and medications can have some unintended and/or unexpected consequences. For example, various kinds of medications intended to improve our health and sense of well-being can actually wind up affecting the health of the gums. This means an increased risk of gum disease, gum recession, and a host of other issues. This is why it's so important to discuss the side effects of any medications that you have been prescribed.

The Dangers of Dry Mouth

Dry mouth means that you do not produce enough saliva to keep the mouth moist. This can lead to a number of issues. In terms of gum health, the most serious problem is that dryness makes the mouth more prone to infection, resulting in a much greater risk of gum disease. If an infection occurs, the gum disease can progress much faster in dry conditions.

In addition to gum disease, dry mouth also means your teeth are more likely to experience tooth decay and acidic erosion. Saliva plays an important role in tooth remineralization. Without saliva, your teeth wind up being weaker.

This is why dry mouth should be taken seriously as a threat to overall dental wellness. While occasional dry mouth is common, chronic or persistent dry mouth should be check out by your dentist or a doctor.

Medications That Can Cause Dry Mouth

Some medications that can potentially cause dry mouth include:

  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Pain relievers
  • Antidepressants
  • Antacids

Other Ways Medications Can Affect the Gums

In addition to dry mouth, some medications have been known to cause the following periodontal health problems:

  • Irritated gums
  • Swollen gums
  • Gum discoloration
  • Oral sores
  • Thrush (fungal infection)

Should I Stop Taking These Medications?

Not at all.

You should continue to take any and all medications as directed in order to address serious health issues as they arise and to promote overall wellness. However, we want to stress again that it's vitally important to discuss the side effects of any medications you take with your doctor. This will give you a good understanding of any potential challenges you may face. In the process, you can plan ahead to account for the side effects associated with your medication.

Tips for Preventing Gum Health Issues

To prevent issues with periodontal health, consider the following simple tips:

  • Stay hydrated throughout the day with water
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day
  • Floss at least once a night
  • Avoid smoking and the use of tobacco products
  • Visit your dentist twice a year for regular dental checkups

Learn More About Periodontal Health

For more information about improving your periodontal and preventing serious wellness issues, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. We look forward to your visit and discussing these matters in much greater detail.

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