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Month: April 2018

How Medications Affect Your Dental Health: Part Three

· Cosmetic Dentistry · Comments Off on How Medications Affect Your Dental Health: Part Three

In parts one and two in how medications can affect your dental health, we learned that proper dental health begins with the small things before aesthetic dentistry can be examined. It was also noted that over 70 percent of Americans are on at least one doctor-prescribed medication. While pharmaceuticals can be advantageous in certain situations, they can also be the culprit of poor dental health, as they lead to dry mouth, enamel erosion, inflammation, altered tastes, and mouth sores.

At Zen Smiles, we want our patients to be educated and informed on all the areas that can affect their dental health, including medications. In part two, we’ll dive in to more specific medications that can harm your teeth.

Medications and Tooth Erosion

In part one, we looked at how decongestants, antihistamines, and antidepressants can cause tooth decay, and there a few more that can be noted.

  • Antacids – If you suffer from acid reflux or heartburn, the stomach acid alone that bubbles up can cause teeth erosion; however, counterintuitively, antacids can also be used to treat it. The main culprit that leads to tooth decay, is from the sugar that is present in the chewable and liquid forms of antacids. The best course of action is to stick with an antacid with a sugar-alternative, or one that you can swallow.


  • Pain medications – If you have acute or chronic pain, treating it is often your first priority because its effects can be debilitating. Pain medications, however, can cause tooth erosion because they produce dry-mouth. Opioids, one of the most prescribed pharmaceuticals for pain, are notorious for causing tooth erosion and tooth decay over prolonged usage. Aspirin, while it may not cause tooth erosion, it will move your teeth and be a possible cause of bleeding gums.

Medications and Altered Tastes

Believe it or not, that bitter or metallic taste you’ve been experiencing may be related to certain medications you’re taking. Medications can be the culprit for altering the way things taste, including:

  • Cardiovascular drugs (calcium channel blockers and beta blockers)
  • Stimulants related to the central nervous system
  • Metronidazole (Flagyl, an antibiotic)
  • Nicotine patches
  • Certain respiratory inhalants

Medications and Soft Tissue Issues

Soft tissue issues are anything that causes mouth sores, discoloration, or inflammation in your mouth. The following prescribed medications have been indicated to cause soft tissue reactions:

  • Oral contraceptives
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Immunosuppressive drugs
  • Blood pressure medications

Medications and Gingival Overgrowth

There are medications that can cause your gums to swell, and they include:

  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Immunosuppressive drugs
  • Anti-seizure medications

Medications and Thrush

Thrush is a bacterial overgrowth in your mouth or an oral yeast infection caused by a fungus called candida. It can appear as lesions on the tongue and mouth or a white coat on your tongue. Medications that can cause thrush include:

  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Steroids
  • Antibiotics

In today’s post, we’ve found that many medications can affect your oral health and many of them in different areas. Medications not only affect tooth erosion but they also can alter your taste, cause soft tissue reactions, gingival overgrowth, and thrush.

This concludes our three-part series on medications and oral health. It’s always wise to address basic oral health issues before aesthetic dentistry, so if you’re ready for a routine dental cleaning, schedule with our office today!

How Medications Affect Your Dental Health: Part Two

· Family Dentistry · Comments Off on How Medications Affect Your Dental Health: Part Two

In part one of this series, we addressed how medications cause dry mouth and how they can negatively affect your dental health. Likewise, we touched on small changes that can be made — including regularly scheduling a teeth cleaning with your local dentist — and began to touch on specific medications that cause dry mouth. In today’s post, we’ll expand on the medications causing dry mouth and connect other dental health issues associated with medications.

Further Medications That Cause Dry Mouth


In addition to decongestants, antihistamines, and antidepressants that we covered in part one, here are a few more medications that can cause dry mouth.


  • Blood pressure medication – The components in most blood pressure medications such as beta blockers, diuretics, and calcium channel blockers address high blood pressure, but increase the chances of developing dry mouth and tooth decay.


  • Antacids – This medication may not make sense because of its ability to block acid from getting into your mouth that contributes to tooth erosion, however, they can weaken teeth and cause dry mouth in all forms — dissolvable, chewable, and liquid.  


Additional Medications That May Cause Dental Health Issues


Dry mouth is one of the dental health issues medications may spawn and the following section will address these dental issues.


  • Mouth sores and ulcers – A mouth sore develops on the tongue on within the cheeks and mouth. They can appear red and irritated and feel like a tiny crater in your mouth. More commonly these sores are known as “canker sores” and it’s only a real issue if they become a chronic issue.


  • Inflammation of the gums – Medications tend to cause gum inflammation because it increases the growth rate of the tissue and can grow over the teeth themselves. Inflamed gums is an insidious place for bacteria to set up camp and cause gingivitis and tooth decay.


  • Inflammation of the lining of the mouth – Medications can cause inflammation in the mouth lining and also results from chemotherapy. This is very painful and can cause mouth sores and ulcers making it increasingly difficult to chew and eat.


Today In part two, we addressed further medications that cause dry mouth and medications that can produce harmful dental health issues.


If you struggle with dry mouth or issues such as inflamed gums or mouth sores, schedule a teeth cleaning with your local dentist to establish a plan of action to help find relief.


Call Zen Smiles today!