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Can Medications Cause Cavities?

January 12, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — vistadental @ 7:16 pm

Woman holding medication and glass of waterWhether you require daily medications or you’re battling a cold with OTC remedies, they can leave a lasting mark on your smile. Believe it or not, many can lead to tooth decay and other oral health issues. Although your teeth are protected by the hardest substance in your body, your enamel isn’t any match for certain medications. Don’t worry, here are the tips you need to protect your smile.

Medications Linked to Dental Health Problems

When you think about tooth decay, you likely attribute it to sugary foods and drinks. However, sugar isn’t the only culprit of cavities. Some medications are linked to dental health issues, including:

  • Immunosuppressant Drugs: Immunosuppressant medications keep the immune system from going into overdrive, such as after transplants or major surgeries. Cyclosporine causes the gums to swell, called gingival overgrowth. 
  • Antihistamines: Antihistamines battle symptoms of hay fever and nasal congestion. Unfortunately, dry mouth is a common side effect, which creates the perfect environment for cavity-causing bacteria.
  • Chemotherapy Treatments: Chemotherapy medications are known to cause inflammation of the mouth’s inside lining, called mucositis. Altering regular mucus membranes can cause dysfunction that can increase the risk of cavities. 
  • Aspirin: Aspirin is a popular OTC pain reliever, which can also help control blood pressure. However, it’s linked to bleeding gums and mouth sores.
  • Antibiotics and Respiratory Inhalants: Certain respiratory inhalants and antibiotics can affect the way foods and drinks taste. Some people report a metallic or bitter flavor. 

Protect Your Oral Health

Although they can harm your smile, you can take your medications without any worry by following a few simple tips:

  • Commit to Your Oral Hygiene: Even if you’re feeling under the weather, commit to brushing your teeth at least twice daily for 2 minutes each session. Floss every day to remove anything left behind by your toothbrush.
  • Drink Plenty of Water: Healthcare professionals recommend drinking eight 8-oz glasses of water daily to stay hydrated. However, it’s also important for keeping your mouth moist, which combats bacteria growth. It will also rinse any cavity-causing residue from your teeth. 
  • Take Medications With Food: Unless instructed otherwise, take medications with a meal. Eating increases saliva production to lessen the risk of dental health issues.
  • Visit Your Dentist: Visit your dentist every 6 months for a cleaning and checkup. They’ll monitor your oral health to look for anything concerning while it’s small. They can also create a personalized preventive strategy to protect your teeth and gums from any medications you take regularly.

You can keep your mouth and body healthy by giving your smile the attention it deserves. You can take your medications with no worry about harming your pearly whites.

About Dr. Marc Thomas

Dr. Thomas earned his dental degree at the University of the Pacific and served in the US Army Dental Corps. He has regularly pursued advanced education in many specialties, like dental implants and cosmetic dentistry. Dr. Thomas is a proud member of various professional organizations, including the American Dental Association. Request an appointment through our website or call (775) 525-3429.

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