Medications can keep you healthy and feeling your best, but some can leave a lasting mark on your smile. Although antihistamines, pain medications, and other drugs are beneficial, they can increase your risk of tooth decay and other oral health problems. You can’t stop taking some medications, but you don’t have to leave your teeth and gums at risk. Here’s how you can safeguard your pearly whites from medications you rely on.
Medications Can Cause a Dry Mouth
A side effect of many medications is a dry mouth, which is uncomfortable and also bad for your smile. Saliva is important for keeping your mouth moist to keep oral bacteria growth under control. If your mouth is too dry, it’s a perfect environment for harmful bacteria that can lead to decay, infections, and bad breath. Many common medications that affect saliva production include:
- Opioid Pain Medications
- High Blood Pressure Medications
- Muscle Relaxers
- Parkinson’s Disease Medications
Medications Can Contain Sugar
A dry mouth isn’t the only concern of certain medications. Some can increase your risk of cavities because of their sugar content, like:
- Syrup-Based Medications
- Chewable Medications
- Oral Antifungal Medications
Medications Can Discolor Teeth
Medications can also affect the color of your teeth from the inside out, while others can cause stains, like:
- Tetracycline Antibiotics
- Inhaled Corticosteroids
Take Care of Your Mouth
Some medications are necessary for your quality of life and health. You can ensure they don’t damage your smile by keeping a few tips in mind:
- Brush and Floss: Brush your teeth at least twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste. Floss your teeth daily and add mouthwash to your routine.
- Fluoride Dental Products: Fluoride is known as “Nature’s Cavity Fighter” because it strengthens enamel. Choose fluoride toothpaste to make your teeth more resistant to decay.
- Stay Hydrated: Healthcare professionals recommend drinking at least eight 8oz glasses of water daily to stay hydrated. Hydration is essential for keeping your mouth moist to keep oral bacteria under control.
- Avoid Sugary Foods and Drinks: Limit your consumption of sugary foods and drinks to reduce your exposure to cavity-causing bacteria.
- Visit Your Dentist: Visit your dentist every 6 months for a cleaning and checkup. Don’t forget to give them a list of your current medications, so they can create a customized treatment plan to safeguard your smile.
Medications and your dental health don’t have to be a bad mix. Give your teeth and gums the attention they need to keep your mouth and body healthy.
About Dr. Racha W. Kadamani
Dr. Kadamani earned her dental degree from the Loma Linda University School of Dentistry and has regularly continued her education in the latest innovations in dentistry. She strives to help each patient achieve optimal well-being through a healthy smile. Dr. Kadamani is a proud member of the American Dental Association and Texas Dental Association. Request an appointment through our website or call (210) 880-6438.