According to the Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center, nearly three-quarters of Americans take at least one prescription drug, while 20% use at least five medications.
When you take a common medication to battle a cold, suppress pain, or promote regular blood pressure, you’re focused on one thing: returning to normal health.
But should you also focus on your teeth and gums?
Prescription drugs can come with side effects. These unintended consequences may include negative impacts to oral health, including tooth decay, dry mouth, and more.
So, what are six common medications that can lead to tooth decay?
- Immunosuppressant drugs. Following transplants and major surgeries, doctors prescribe immunosuppressant medications to keep the body’s immune system from going into overdrive. One such drug, Cyclosporine, can cause excessive swelling of the gums – a condition known as gingival overgrowth.
- Antihistamines. This popular medication for hay fever and nasal congestion helps to restore regular breathing. But it can also damage your teeth and gums. Antihistamines are one of the many medications that can lead to tooth decay, due in part to causing less saliva production.
- Chemotherapy treatments. Mucositis, or inflammation of the mouth’s inside lining, is linked to a handful of chemotherapy medications, including methotrexate. These drugs are responsible for altering regular mucus membrane functions and can contribute to tooth decay.
- Aspirin. One of the most common over-the-counter pain medications, aspirin is also used to control high blood pressure. Yet negative side effects include mouth sores and bleeding of the gums.
- Antibiotics and respiratory inhalants. Some antibiotics and inhalants alter the way food and beverages taste, producing a bitter or metallic flavor.
If your health issues require regular medication use, take the following steps to promote optimal oral health:
- Brush and floss regularly. If you take medications that can lead to tooth decay, brush your teeth at least twice and floss at least once daily.
- Take medications during meals. When taken with food, medications are optimally ingested, and won’t affect your teeth and gums as much as they might otherwise.
- Schedule regular dental visits. By providing dental cleanings to other procedures, the oral healthcare experts at Dr. Dental will ensure your teeth and gums remain healthy, even during regular prescription or medication use. Schedule an appointment today!
If you haven’t yet visited Dr. Dental, take advantage of our new patient cleaning special and hit the reset button with your teeth and gums! It’s just one of the many services you can take advantage of at Dr. Dental.