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Medicines help us recover from various ailments. But they also have some adverse effects on our health in general and our oral health as well. It is important for you to mention all the medicines that you are having when you visit your dentist as few oral problems can occur as a response to these medicines.
Here is a brief list of the most common ways medications can adversely affect your oral health
Bleeding- If you are having blood-thinning medicines like aspirin, you have a high chance of having abnormal bleeding during any dental surgery. Drugs like aspirin are prescribed to those who have had a stroke previously or have a heart disease. Aspirin prevents the formation of blood clots hence, preventing the occurrence of a stroke or a heart attack. During a dental surgery like extraction, the bleeding takes a long time to stop due to the effect of Aspirin and this can be life threatening as well. Hence, those who are having it should inform the dentist well in advance.
Taste alteration- Some drugs like inhalants, smoking-cessation drugs or anti-inflammatory drugs can lead to a change in the taste sensation or give a constant bitter or metallic taste in the mouth.
Oral sores or discoloration- Those who are using oral contraceptives or are under chemotherapy can develop small ulcers in the mouth. Contact your dentist if you happen to get them. Your dentist will prescribe a pain-relieving or soothing gel to alleviate the soreness and promote healing.
Enlarged gums- Few medicines like antiepileptic drugs and drugs used to lower the blood pressure can cause the gums to enlarge. These enlargements are not harmful but look unsightly. Consult your physician to get an alternative drug if you notice that your gums are swelling up because of the present ones.
Dry mouth- Dryness of mouth is an irritating adverse effect of multiple drugs like anti-allergic drugs, blood pressure lowering drugs and antidepressants. In this condition, the saliva production is reduced. Hence, the mouth experiences typical dryness which can have serious repercussions like oral sores, dental decay and gum disease. Using chewing gums and drinking plenty of water can be of great help.
Yeast infection- Certain drugs used for inhalation as a treatment for asthma can cause fungal infection. After using inhalers, it is highly recommended to rinse the mouth with water to flush out the medicine particles.
Oral thrush- It is the common name used for oral candidiasis or candidal infection in the mouth. Candida albicans is a fungus that dwells within our body and the multiplication of the fungus is kept under control by the good micro-organisms of our body. When our immunity lowers the fungus begins to multiply causing infection. Different medicines like antibiotics taken for a long duration can cause oral thrush.
Bone loss- Drugs like corticosteroids and antiepileptic drugs can cause loss of the teeth-supporting bone. Bisphosphonates are a type of drug used to treat osteoporosis. The adverse effect of this drug is that it may cause destruction of jawbone.
Whenever you use a medicine it is a good idea to weigh the benefits and the side effects and use them only if you find that the benefits weigh far more than the adverse effects.