How prescription medications affect teeth

Some prescription medications affect teeth; what you need to know

According to the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, nearly half of the U.S. population has taken one or more prescription drugs in the past 30 days. Most drugs come with a range of side effects, and some prescription medications affect teeth.

Though you may have a history of excellent dental hygiene, these five prescription drugs can affect your oral health:

Anti-hypertensive medications

Some medications used to control high blood pressure can cause xerostomia (also known as dry mouth) and dysgeusia, or an altered sense of taste. Another potential side effect is gum overgrowth, which could make it difficult to chew. In some extreme cases, patients may need minor surgery to remove the overgrowth.

Antidepressants

Like anti-hypertensive medications, drugs used to treat depression can cause xerostomia (dry mouth). Left untreated, dry mouth can lead to tooth decay, bad breath, gum disease and infections.

Analgesics and pain relievers

Medications to ease pain, most commonly aspirin, may affect your teeth as well. Studies have shown that chewing analgesics can cause erosion of the tooth enamel and dentin, which is the structure of the tooth beneath the enamel layer. Analgesics can also lead to irritation of the gums and abnormal bleeding.

Statins and antihyperlipidemics

Taking statins to manage cholesterol can cause issues with a tooth’s pump chamber, which lies between the dentin and root. The pump chamber may become calcified, which complicates root canals and other dental procedures. However, statins have also been linked to reduced periodontal disease and lower levels of soft tissue inflammation.

Anticoagulants

Drugs prescribed to prevent blood coagulation increase the time it takes for blood to clot, which can result in excessive bleeding of the gums, especially during oral surgery.

Many of your medication’s side effects can be mitigated with a carefully planned oral hygiene regimen. Your dentist may recommend more frequent brushing, flossing and fluoride treatments to ease these symptoms.

Speak with your dentist about all of your prescribed medications, and be sure to communicate any change in dosage.

Contact us for more to schedule your dental check-up in Boulder. We are pleased to support our active military, police and firefighters with a 10 percent discount on dental services.