Are Your Medications Affecting Your Gum Health?
By Steven Kail on October 06, 2017
Medications are a daily necessity in the lives of many people. While thousands of people reap the benefits of certain medications, they can sometimes contribute to other health issues or side effects. There is an undeniable link between poor gum health and medications.
Fortunately, at Premiere Dental Center in Jackson, TN, our doctors provide restorative dentistry treatments to address damage to the teeth and gums associated with drug side effects. Read on to learn more about the connection between gum health and medications.
Medications and Dry Mouth
Also referred to as xerostomia, dry mouth is one of the most common side effects of prescription medications. These drugs can cause a decrease in the natural production of saliva, which is necessary for optimal oral health. Without saliva, the levels of plaque and bacteria begin to rise. Often, the plaque begins to collect around the gum line, resulting in inflammation, gum recession, or periodontal disease.
Medications and Gingival Swelling
Some medications can cause swelling or gum overgrowth. This condition creates an environment in which bacteria begin to breed between the teeth and gums. Proper hygiene can reduce inflammation and decrease plaque. However, if the swelling is severe, you may benefit from more frequent dental cleanings to keep bacteria at bay.
Which Medications Are Known to Contribute to Gum Disease?
There are many medications that can contribute to inflammation and gum disease. Some of these include:
- Anti-seizure medication
- Beta blockers
- Certain birth control pills
- Anti-angina medications
Tips to Maintain Healthy Gums
If you notice that a new medication is causing dry mouth or swelling of the gums, it is important to discuss these issues with your dentist and your medical doctor. Occasionally, medications can be adjusted. Your physician may be able to prescribe an alternative drug or tweak your current dosage to help prevent dental side effects. You should never discontinue a prescribed medication without discussing it with your doctor first.
There are also some things you can do at home to promote healthy gums and prevent periodontal issues. We recommend that you:
- Develop Good Oral Hygiene Habits: Proper oral hygiene is essential for everyone. But if you experience issues such as dry mouth or gingivitis, it is even more important to stick to an at-home regimen. It is recommended that you brush at least twice per day and floss at least once per day.
- Brush after Every Meal: For optimal oral health, brush after every snack and meal. This decreases the risk of rapid plaque buildup and bacteria.
- Rinse with Warm Water after Meals: If brushing after every meal is not an option, try rinsing with warm water after you eat. Swishing with water can reduce bacteria and eliminate food debris.
- Switch to Sugar-free Gum: Chewing gum is an excellent way to stimulate saliva production. If you chew gum, be sure to select a sugar-free option to prevent the development of cavities. There are even some gum brands on the market specifically designed to combat dry mouth.
- Keep Your Routine Dental Appointments: If you experience gum issues or dry mouth, it is especially important to attend your regular dental exams and cleanings. In addition to keeping bacteria levels at bay, early signs of problems can be identified and treated before they progress.
Learn More about Gum Health
If you are experiencing gingivitis or dry mouth, it could be a result of your medications. Schedule a visit with one of our doctors to discuss your options for preventing future problems. Contact us online or call one of our three office locations.
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