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Oral Hygiene Basics – My Pearl Dental Group

Do Medications Impact Dental Health?

Many medications have negative impacts on your dental health. Aside from prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements can cause dental issues such as inflamed gums, dry mouth, taste changes, and bone loss.

How medications affect dental health

Dry mouth

Saliva helps clean your mouth, but when its flow is changed, and your mouth gets dry, gum infections and tooth decay are likely to develop.

Common medications responsible for dry mouth include:

•    Decongestants

•    Antihistamines

•    High blood pressure drugs

•    Painkillers

•    Sedatives

•    Antidepressants

•    Antacids

•    Parkinson’s disease medications

If you experience dry mouth due to your medication, you can talk to your doctor about possibly finding a different medication that may not have the side-effect. If that option is not immediately possible, you can increase your water or liquid intake or try artificial saliva products to reduce the dryness.

Abnormal Bleeding

Anticoagulants and aspirins belong to the category of medications called blood thinners and reduce blood clotting. Although they are beneficial for averting heart attacks and strokes, they can start gum bleeding, usually during oral surgery.

If you have a dental appointment, ensure you notify your dentist of any medications you are using so that they can take necessary steps towards alleviating bleeding. Also, consider using a soft-bristled toothbrush and be gentle during flossing to prevent gum bleeding.

Taste Alterations

Some medications can make your mouth taste bitter or metallic. In some cases, the medicines may alter some meals’ taste. Examples of such medicines include cardiovascular drugs, Flagyl, stimulants (for ADD/ADHD), and nicotine skin patches.

If you find this side effect unbearable, talk to your doctor about changing the medication.

Soft Tissue Reactions

The soft tissues in your mouth may develop sores, inflammations, and discoloration due to prescription drugs such as immunosuppressive agents, oral contraceptives, and blood pressure medications.

If you are experiencing soft tissue reactions, notify your dentist to know what dental care treatment will help alleviate the pain.

Gum Enlargement

Also known as gingival overgrowth, swollen gums happen due to immunosuppressant drugs, anti-seizure drugs, and calcium channel inhibitors. If you are on any of these medications, you need to be cautious when flossing and brushing. Talk to your dentist to get proper instructions.

Risk of Cavities

Some medications like antifungal agents, antacids, cough drugs, and vitamins contain sugar that may potentially cause cavities.

Here is what you can do…

•    Take medicines in tablet form

•    Do not take the medication before bedtime

•    Take the medicines while eating

•    Brush with fluoride toothpaste or try sugarless gum

•    Seek preventive dental care

Teeth and Gum Discoloration

Some drugs can change the appearance of your gum or teeth. Minocycline may cause a black stain on your teeth and dark discoloration on your gum. Chlorhexidine (used for gum disease) also causes teeth stains.

If you notice discoloration, consider asking your dentist about teeth whitening options that could help.

Bone loss

Medications such as corticosteroids can degrade the bone supporting your teeth. Using bisphosphonate (used for osteoporosis) may cause osteonecrosis of the jawbone, which damages the jawbone.

In the case of osteonecrosis, the dentist may recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug or antibiotic to reverse any bone loss.

We are always ready to answer any additional questions you may have. Contact our office today! 

Request an appointment in our La Verne dentist office here: .

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Understanding the importance of picking a toothbrush and toothpaste goes a long way when it comes to keeping your mouth and gums healthy. Brushing is an important element of a good oral care routine, and the type of toothbrush and toothpaste a person uses determines the effectiveness of each brushing session.

The combination of a quality toothpaste and toothbrush makes it easier to remove food particles and plaque from teeth. This, in turn, reduces the risk of developing tooth decay or gum disease.

A typical toothpaste contains several ingredients that work together to keep teeth clean. These include detergents to create foam, making it easier to remove food particles and plaque, an abrasive to clean stains and fluoride to keep teeth enamel healthy and strong. There are also a variety of toothpastes that are designed to deal with specific issues like sensitive teeth and gingivitis.

Common types of toothpaste

Here are the most common types of toothpaste and their main properties:

1. Fluoride

Fluoride can be found in most toothpaste brands. It helps re-mineralize teeth and counteracts the damage done by the acids that teeth are constantly exposed to. Most dentists recommend using a fluoride toothpaste, especially for people living in areas without fluoridated water.

2. Tartar control

Tartar is calcified plaque. It develops when plaque is left on a person's teeth for prolonged periods. The only way to remove tartar is with a dental cleaning performed by a dentist, but these types of toothpaste can be used to prevent its accumulation.

3. Whitening

Whitening toothpaste can be used to remove difficult stains that regular toothpaste cannot remove. Whitening toothpaste are also used to help preserve the appearance of teeth after getting whitening treatments.

4. Desensitizing

People with sensitive teeth can get some relief by using special toothpaste types that block the tubules in the dentin, reducing sensitivity. It should be noted that sensitive teeth are often caused by other dental issues, so those with sensitive teeth should go in for a dental evaluation as soon as possible.

5. Natural

Some people would rather avoid products that contain chemicals, and there are a variety of natural toothpastes that can be used to effectively clean teeth.

6.  Smoker's toothpaste

These products contain abrasives that are very effective at removing the discoloration caused by using tobacco products. Due to the strength of the chemicals in these products, using them too often can lead to teeth enamel damage and gum irritation.

Common types of toothbrushes

When it comes to picking a toothbrush and toothpaste, finding the right brush can be a lot easier. The first thing people should look for is one with soft bristles. These are less likely to damage teeth enamel, even if the patient brushes too hard.

The design of the bristle ends should also be considered. Rounded ends are less likely to lead to gum irritation. Most importantly, patients should select a toothbrush that makes brushing their teeth as easy as possible.

Contact one of our dentists to learn more about picking a toothbrush and toothpaste.

Learn more today!

Request an appointment in our La Verne dentist office here: .

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