Sterling VA Dentist

How Your Medications Can Affect Tooth Decay

How Your Medications Can Affect Tooth Decay
How Your Medications Can Affect Tooth Decay
Dr. Choi, EverSmile Dentistry in Sterling, VA

You already know that anything you eat can be cause for tooth decay or cavities, but did you also realize that this can also include your medications? Both over-the-counter and prescription medications can create conditions within your mouth that can lead to dental decay.

Here are Some of the Most Common Culprits:

High Blood Pressure and Seizure Medications
Two of the more common side effects of your high blood pressure and seizure medications include excessive dryness of the mouth (xerostemia) and hyperplasia (gum overgrowth). A dry mouth reduces the amount of saliva, which aids in fighting bacteria and strengthening your enamel. Without saliva, the quantity of harmful bacteria within your mouth rises, and the soft tissues can become irritated and inflamed. Gum overgrowth or inflamed gums can make it difficult to clean your teeth well, which can lead to plaque build-up and tooth decay.

Antihistamines and Decongestants
Since antihistamines cause an overall drying effect of the soft tissues, they can also reduce saliva production. They can also lead to tooth discoloration or erosion. Cough syrups can be another source of damage since they are often highly acidic and may contain sugar.

The types of antacids that are liquid, dissolvable or chewable can weaken the enamel on your teeth, leading to tooth decay. Beware especially of the chewable types which can lodge between teeth and cause cavities after prolonged exposure. In addition, they may contain sugar or artificial sweeteners.

In addition to contributing to a dry mouth that can lead to bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease, antidepressants can cause negative effects on bone health, which can affect implants.

Pain Medications
Some pain medications like oxycontin or tramadol can create excessive dryness of the mouth, leading to some of the same symptoms as above.

Ways to Minimize Damage

Anything that stems the flow of saliva should be of concern. Your saliva helps wash away substances and sugars that promote cavities, and neutralizes acids within the mouth and strengthens the mineral layers on your teeth.

Those taking several medications and experiencing dry mouth can even set themselves up on a harmful routing of drinking constantly liquids containing acids or sugars, like cola, juices or tea.

If you are taking medications that cause dryness of the mouth, try these remedies:
• Drink lots of water throughout the day
• Chew sugarless gum
• Cutback on caffeinated or dehydrating drinks like coffee, tea or alcohol
• Limit use of tobacco products
• Use a hydrating mouth rinse
• Select sugar-free options for antacids, cough medicines or other medications
• Avoid foods that trigger heartburn or acid reflux
• Be vigilant about proper brushing

Schedule Your Appointment with EverSmile Dentistry
Regular dental checkups and cleanings can also help prevent tooth decay. Set your next dental appointment with EverSmile Dentistry, your Reston, Virginia family dentist. Contact us today.