Family Dentist Alert: Medication and Your Dry Mouth

As a family dentist, it’s my job to be in the loop about everything that may impact your dental health. And believe it or not, the medications you take may play a part. So if you haven’t provided your family dentist with a list of medications you’re taking, you should.

Is your mouth dry as a desert? Your family dentist says that it could be a result of taking certain medications.

Many medications, including prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications, cause reactions that affect tooth health.

For instance, hundreds of medications may cause one of the most common side effects – dry mouth. Some medications that cause dry mouth include antihistamines, decongestants, pain medications, high blood pressure medications, and antacids. You should be concerned about dry mouth for a couple of reasons. First, dry mouth could lead to the soft tissues in the mouth to become inflamed and thus more vulnerable to infection. Second, with dry mouth you lack the cleansing effects of saliva. Without an adequate flow of saliva, plaque and bacteria can collect in the mouth and thus lead to a greater likelihood of tooth decay and gum disease.

If dry mouth due to medication becomes a problem, there are several things you can do. First and foremost, you may want to ask your doctor to consider changing your prescription. However, that may not be possible. If not, you can always drink water (or any other drink without sugar) frequently throughout the day (including while you’re eating meals) to control your dry mouth. These liquids should not include caffeinated beverages or alcohol, as they actually contribute to dry mouth. You should also avoid tobacco products, as they also can cause dry mouth.

To help produce saliva in your mouth, suck on sugarless candy or gum. And avoid foods that are spicy or salty, as they can cause discomfort if you already have a dry mouth.  You can also try to conquer dry mouth by adding moisture to the air, so try using a humidifier (particularly at night). Finally, artificial saliva products are available, so if need be consult with your doctor or family dentist about using one of these products.

And if you need a family dentist and live in the Columbus or Reynoldsburg areas, we are eager to get down to business when it comes to your oral health. Want to get to know us? You can visit our website and schedule your free consultation today!

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