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How Medication Side Effects Can Lead to Poor Gum Health

June 5, 2017 — by Dental Associates
Tags: Gum Recession Gum Disease

A bottle of prescription pillsPlenty of medications are meant to keep us healthy, but their side effects can be unpredictable. In fact, certain drugs may increase the risk of certain dental health problems precisely because of their side effects. One of the most harmful side effects is dry mouth.

The team at our advanced dental care center serving Boston would like to consider the ways that medication side effects can have a negative impact on your dental health.

The Dangers of Dry Mouth

When you do not produce sufficient saliva, there are many different dangers that can impact the health of the gum as well as the teeth. A dry mouth is an ideal condition for oral bacteria to thrive. This means that patients face an increased risk of gum disease in addition to tooth decay and acidic erosion. What's more, these conditions can all progress faster when someone suffers from dry mouth.

Over a long period of time, dry mouth can lead to major dental health problems. This is why people need to take these issues seriously, and they need to discuss all side effects with their doctors before taking any sort of prescription or over-the-counter medications.

Medications That Can Lead to Dry Mouth

Different types of medications can cause dry mouth and other side effects that impact saliva production. They include the following:

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

Other Medication Side Effects That Impact the Gums

In addition to dry mouth, medications can also cause the following side effects that negatively affect periodontal health:

  • Inflammation of the gums
  • Discolored gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Oral sores
  • Oral thrush (fungal infection)

Should I Stop Taking My Medication?

No, not at all.

If you have been prescribed medication by your doctor or have been instructed to take over-the-counter medication from a medical professional, by all means take this medication as directed. This can help address a number of health issues as they arise.

However, knowing the side effects of a medication, you can take certain measures to reduce the damage done to the gums and prevent serious dental health problems.

The Importance of Hydration

First and foremost, it's of the utmost importance that you hydrate properly and regularly throughout the day. Having some water periodically during the day can help promote saliva production and prevent your mouth from being too dry. Some people recommend eight glasses of water during the day, but the ideal level of hydration can vary from person to person. As a simple rule to follow, have some water when you're feeling thirsty or when you notice dryness in your mouth or throat.

Be sure to hydrate with water rather than sugary drinks or sodas. Water can also help keep your mouth clean and feeling fresh since it removes dead cells and old food particles when it's imbibed.

Additional Tips for Periodontal Care

When it comes to preventing dental health issues related to medications, the following simple tips are helpful:

  • Brush your teeth after every meal
  • Floss after every meal
  • Avoid smoking and tobacco products
  • Consider an artificial saliva product
  • Use a humidifier during sleep
  • Chew on sugar-free gum to promote saliva production

Learn More About Improving Gum Health

For more information about improving your periodontal health and treating dental problems of various kinds, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. Our team looks forward to your visit and discussing these matters in much greater detail.