The Effects of Hypertension and Medications on Oral Health
Illegal Drugs a Risk to Dental Health
If you're taking medications for certain health conditions, it may not have crossed your mind that they can impact your oral health. After all, medications are supposed to bring equilibrium back to your system, not stir things up, right? Truth is a variety of prescribed medications can affect your teeth. Using illegal drugs can also be bad for your teeth (among other things). It's also important to know that mixing certain medications with dental medications can have adverse effects. Talking about medications isn't all about going to the "danger zone" though. There are many teeth medications that help combat infection, relieve pain and reduce swelling. Avoid getting drawn into a medications minefield by arming yourself with the facts. Our articles are a great place to start.
Q: Which medications affect my dental health?
A: Antihistamines may cause dry mouth syndrome (xerostemia), which can lead to sore gums, making the mouth more prone to infection. Contraceptives and blood pressure medications may cause mouth sores, gum inflammation and discoloration. Blood thinners can interfere with your ability to form blood clots or cause heavy bleeding after a tooth extraction. Anti-seizure medications can cause an overgrowth of gum tissue (gingival hyperplasia) and make it difficult to practice good oral hygiene.
Q: What does "drug interactions" mean?
A: If you're taking medications and start taking other medications — whether prescribed, illegal or herbal - this can change the effects of both the original and the new medications. Simply put, when certain drugs interact, they may increase or decrease the effects or produce another, unintended effect. This is why it's so important to keep your dentist informed about all the medications you take; any teeth medications you are prescribed will take this into consideration.
Q: What are some commonly used dental medications?
A: Dental medications are prescribed for different reasons. Dental medications from the benzodiazepine family can help put patients in a relaxed, or sedated, state. Ibuprofen, aspirin or acetaminophen may be prescribed for mild toothaches, whereas narcotic analgesics like hydrocodone or codeine® are used to relieve severe pain. Teeth medications used to combat infections include antibiotics like penicillin or amoxicillin. And antifungals like nystatin are used to treat oral candidiasis, or oral thrush.