For new patients, we ask them to complete a medical/dental history form PLUS a list of all medications they are currently taking. Although this may seem ‘busy work,’ it is vital information for your care in our office.
Some medications contribute to dry mouth, a side effect of more than 400 of them. Without a sufficient flow of saliva, oral bacteria can accumulate, which results in plaque. This makes you more susceptible to periodontal (gum) disease and tooth decay. If your physician cannot prescribe an alternative medication that is less drying to the mouth, drink 6-8 glasses of water daily. We can also recommend oral rinses to help replenish saliva.
However, many medications can contribute to oral problems, some of which may surprise you. In fact, adults taking antidepressants and high blood pressure medications were found to have elevated levels of plaque and signs of gingivitis. Many cough drops, medications in syrup form and antacids contain sugars that often leave a sticky residue on teeth, making them more susceptible to decay. Certain antibiotics and ibuprofen can cause lesions or ulcers in the mouth.
Gingival enlargement, a condition that causes the gums to swell and grow over teeth, can lead to severe periodontal infection. In particular, calcium channel blockers used to control high blood pressure can contribute to this gum tissue overgrowth.
Oral contraceptives and blood pressure medications have been linked to mouth sores and inflammation. Tetracycline, typically used for treating acne, can discolor teeth as well as supporting bone.
While you may assume that herbal supplements don’t apply, they can actually have serious side effects for some dental patients. For example, Ginkgo Biloba and Vitamin E can act as blood thinners. When combined with aspirin, the combination may cause difficulties in blood clotting. For patients undergoing surgical procedures, this can be a serious problem.
Taking high dosages of vitamins before undergoing anesthesia can also put you at risk. For instance, high doses of Vitamin C can weaken the efficiency of anesthesia. On the flip side, supplements such as Kava Kava or St. John’s Wort can accentuate anesthesia’s effectiveness.
It is important that we know all prescription and over-the-counter medications you take. This way, we can help you avoid issues that can be risky or leave you vulnerable to problems. Keep us informed of any new medications you are taking as well as those that have been eliminated from the list we have in your file.
While not all side effects create great risk, we want to ensure each visit provides you with an optimal outcome. Working together, we can achieve this! If you have questions about any medications, call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles or bring a current medication list (including dosage) to your next visit.