According to the Mayo Clinic, approximately 70 percent of Americans are taking some sort of prescription medication, with antibiotics and antidepressants topping the list.
You may be surprised to learn that these and many other medications – including antihistamines, vitamins, and even some herbal preparations – can have an unwanted effect on the health of your mouth. The Santa Monica, CA family dentist explains:
Prescription Medications and Dry Mouth
A number of medications (both prescribed and over-the-counter) indicate dry mouth as a potential side effect. Some of these are decongestants, high blood pressure medication, and antidepressants. Dry mouth is a nuisance, but it can actually create conditions in your mouth that lead to periodontal disease.
Saliva has a cleansing effect because it carries away food debris and kills bacteria in your mouth. Drying irritates the soft tissues in your mouth, causing inflammation making decay and infection more likely.
Practicing a diligent oral hygiene routine is essential, because the absence of sufficient amounts of saliva reduces your body’s natural ability to neutralize bacteria in your mouth.
If dry mouth is a problem for you, please your Santa Monica family dentist know so we can recommend an oral hygiene routine to limit the discomfort. Drinking water or sucking on a sugar-free lozenge, or chewing sugarless gum can all be helpful for stimulating the production of saliva to counteract dry mouth.
Knowledge is Power
We are NOT suggesting you stop taking any medication prescribed by your doctor. But understanding the effects they can have on your oral health can keep you informed and one step ahead of potential problems.
Open communication is an important element of providing you with dental treatments that protect and preserve your oral health. You should never hesitate to talk to your family dentist about any medical concerns, even if you think they are not related to the condition of your mouth.
Please call our family dentist to arrange your next appointment so we can review your medications and make adjustments as necessary.