Associates of Dental Arts
Dr. Gregory Kivett

That Pill Might Make your Mouth Ill

Your medicine cabinet may hold the answer to some of your oral health problems. Drugs that improve the health of one part of your body may have a detrimental effect on your mouth. For example, more than 400 medications produce dry mouth or xerostomia, which can be damaging to the gum tissue. Other drugs may cause gingival (gum) enlargement, which means the gums become swollen and "grow over" the teeth. Medications with sugar as a main ingredient, such as over-the-counter cough drops and syrups, may increase plaque as well as enhance the ability of plaque to adhere to your teeth. I n addition, medications, which have a depressant effect may make people negligent with their oral hygiene habits.

Dry Mouth Drugs that induce dry mouth include those for high blood pressure, spastic bladder syndrome, pain relief, anxiety and allergies. People with dry mouth have a tendency to accumulate more plaque and experience changes in their gum tissue that can make them more susceptible to periodontal disease and tooth decay. Our office can recommend various methods to restore moisture, including sugarless gum, oral rinses or artificial saliva products. Overgrowth A number of medications also may cause gingival enlargement or overgrowth, such as some types of high blood pressure medications, some medication used for seizure prevention and medications following an organ transplant to control rejection. Gingivitis (gum inflammation) may act as a predisposing factor to this condition, so meticulous oral care and routine dental visits are very important for people who use these medications.

High Sugar Content Many liquid or chewable medications, especially children's medications, are made palatable by the addition of sucrose, glucose or fructose as sweeteners. These may significantly alter plaque and increase the risk of cavities and possibly periodontal disease. When purchasing lozenges, chewable tablets and syrups, look for those that are sugar-free. Just as you tell your physician about the drugs you're taking, be sure to tell us about all the medications that you are taking, including herbal remedies and over- the-counter medications. Our office can talk to you about what effects, if any, these may be having on your periodontal health. We can work with you and your physician to minimize negative effects.

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