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How Medication Affects Your Oral Health

Medications are beneficial and necessary, but did you know that some medicines can affect the health of your teeth and gums?  Always discuss your medications (prescribed and over-the counter) with your dentist, and ask for specific dental care instructions.

Sugary Tablets

Many common remedies such as cough drops, chewable vitamins, and antacid tablets are loaded with sugar and can contribute to tooth decay.  To help reduce this possibility, take these tablets with a meal and avoid taking them before bed. Brush your teeth after consuming them and rinse your mouth with water. Seek regular preventative dental care.


Inhalers, particularly those that contain steroids, can erode tooth enamel.  Rinse your mouth after using your inhaler to help reduce deterioration. Ask your dentist how you can reduce enamel erosion.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a possible side effect of many medications, due to a reduction in saliva flow. This unpleasant condition may be caused by antihistamines, decongestants, painkillers, muscle relaxants, antidepressants and drugs prescribed for high blood pressure. Without the cleansing effects of saliva, tooth decay and other oral health problems may occur. Sip water throughout the day to help alleviate the discomfort and other side effects, and reduce caffeinated beverages, suck on sugarless candy, and use a humidifier at night. Discuss the condition with your dentist.

Teeth and Gum Color

Certain drugs can cause black pigmentation of the gums and black or gray discoloration of the teeth. If medication has caused discoloring of your teeth, ask your dentist about teeth-whitening procedures.

Soft Tissue Reactions

Some medications have been linked to the development of oral sores and inflammation of the soft tissues of the mouth (gums, cheek lining, and tongue). This is a common side effect of blood pressure medication, immunosuppressive agents, oral contraceptives, and chemotherapy drugs.  Let your dentist know if you are taking any of these medications so they can recommend a dental care regimen to reduce the discomfort.

Enlarged Gum Tissue

Overgrown gum tissue (gingival overgrowth) is associated with anti-seizure medication, immunosuppressive drugs, and some heart medications. If you are taking any of these medicines, take extra care when brushing and flossing and ask you dentist for dental care instructions.

Abnormal Bleeding Gums

Aspirin, anticoagulants, and blood thinners reduce the ability of the blood to clot. This is helpful for preventing heart attacks and strokes, but can cause your gums to bleed.  These medications may cause difficulties during oral surgery. Use a soft brush and gentle motion when brushing and let your dentist know if you are taking any of these drugs.

Always tell your dentist about any medications you are using, your overall health, any recent illnesses, and chronic conditions. This health history will help your dentist in assisting you in maintaining the health of your mouth. Ask your dentist for specific dental care instructions for your situation.

Centennial Smiles is here to discuss medication and your oral health. Simply give us a call at (587) 317‑7959 today.

New Patients: (587) 317‑7959
Existing Patients: (587) 353‑5060
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