Can pharmaceuticals influence your dental health?

The body is an incredibly complex piece of machinery. The drugs used to target a specific disease can easily interact with other proteins, lipids and carbohydrates, thus influencing other cellular mechanisms. This can lead to the occurrence of adverse effects. Almost all drugs, even over the counter pharmaceuticals, are known to have side effects ranging from almost none or mild, to potentially life threatening conditions. Most people associate side effects with systemic negative effects: stomach ache from painkillers, feeling weak from antibiotics, etc. It is important to know however, that certain drugs can have a profoundly negative impact on your oral health as well. This includes dry mouth, gum bleeding, inflammation, ulcers, tooth discolouration, swollen gums, etc. Let’s see what kind of drugs can potentially pose adverse effects on your teeth and their surrounding tissues:

Dry mouth

Mouth dryness is a common side effect of a variety of drugs. The most commonly used ones are antihistamines used for allergies, nasal decongestants, blood pressure medications, painkillers, Parkinson’s drugs, anxiolytics and sedatives. Depending on the severity of the mouth dryness you experience you should consult your physician about it, and find out whether it is possible to change for an alternative drug that does not produce the side effect. This is often not possible. If it is not, some home remedies can help manage side effects. Quit smoking, coffee and alcohol, as these can all enhance the dry mouth inducing effect of the drug you are being treated with. Drink small amounts of water frequently throughout the day. Ask your dentist in Sydney CBD about types of artificial saliva recommended by them.

Gum bleeding

Certain non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, such as acetylcysteine (Aspirin) and anticoagulants, such as Warfarin partially inhibit blood clotting. These drugs are used in patients who are at a high risk of heart attacks and strokes. While they are capable of saving lives, they have an unpleasant side effect due to their anticoagulant effect: they enhance the gum’s ability to bleed, and reduce the ability of the blood to clot, potentially resulting in long and difficult to manage bleedings. When booking an appointment at your dentist in Sydney CBD, make sure you mention if you take any of these drugs prior to the start of any treatment.

Tooth discolouration

Cosmetic dentistry

Some pharmaceuticals are capable of causing tooth and gum discolouration. This is usually a harmless condition, however it can be quite annoying if it affects teeth at a visible location. These medications include certain antibiotics, such as the ones used for the treatment of acne or the one found in mouthwashes. Other types of drugs, including antipsychotics, antihistamines and high blood pressure drugs have also been associated with tooth discolouration. In cases of short term application most of the aforementioned drugs do not stain the teeth, however; with long term treatments this is more likely to occur. If it has occurred, teeth whitening treatments at your dentist in Sydney CBD should be able to tackle this issue. It is important to note that aging can naturally cause tooth discolouration, which should not be confused with discolouration resulting from drug treatments.

Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

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