Could Your Medication Be Affecting Your Oral Health?
The answer is YES. Many medications—both those prescribed by your doctor and the ones you buy on your own can and will affect your oral health, and here's how..
A common side effect of medications is dry mouth. Saliva helps keep food from collecting around your teeth and neutralizes the acids produced by plaque which could damage the surface of your teeth, and so having dry mouth increases your risk for tooth decay.
Your soft oral tissues—gums, cheek lining, tongue—can be affected by medications as well and can cause a fungal infection called oral candidiasis- also called thrush. Thrush can sometimes be seen in patients who use inhalers. While this infection appears as white spots in your mouth and can be painful, rinsing your mouth after using your inhaler may prevent this infection.
Cancer treatments also can affect oral health. Rare but serious jaw problems also can occur in people who’ve received bone strengthening drugs to treat cancer and, to a lesser extent, osteoporosis, and so we advise you schedule a consultation with us before beginning treatment, so that we ensure that your mouth is healthy and, if necessary, can prescribe treatments to help you maintain good oral health during the process.
Your medications can also affect your dental treatments, and so be sure to communicate with both your dentist and your physician when planning your treatment. It is important that your dentist knows about the medications you are taking so that he or she can provide the best dental care for you.
Tell your dentist about your medication use, your overall health, any recent illnesses or any chronic conditions you may have. Provide a health history including both prescription and over-the-counter products. Always let your dentist know when there are changes in your health or medication use, and discuss how to properly secure and dispose of any unused, unwanted or expired medications.
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