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The Link between Medications and Poor Gum Health

Dr. Degel Apr 22, 2017

Medications and Poor Gum HealthWhile the leading cause of periodontal (gum) disease is still poor oral hygiene, there are plenty of other factors that can affect the health of your gums. While many are within your control, some are not. Studies have found a strong link between certain medications and poor gum health, such as antidepressants and those for cardiovascular health. It is important to notify our dentists at Astoria Dental Group in Queens, NY of any medications you may be taking so we can more thoroughly assess your risk for periodontal disease. Our general dentistry practice offers several treatment solutions to help you prevent or control gum disease.

How Medications Affect Gum Health

Certain medications have a frustrating, but seemingly minor, side effect: dry mouth. While dry mouth can make you feel uncomfortable, you may think it’s not a big deal. This side effect, however, can have a major impact on your gum health.

Our saliva does more than just keep our mouths from feeling dry; it actually aids in the removal of bacteria from our teeth and gums. When saliva production is reduced as a result of medications, bacteria can continue to accumulate on the gums. Over time, this bacteria can infect the gums, resulting in gum disease.

Which Medications Can Lead to Gum Disease?

There is a wide range of medications that can cause dry mouth and eventually lead to gum disease. These medications may include:

  • Certain birth control pills
  • Antidepressants
  • Anticonvulsants (for seizures)
  • Anti-angina medications (to prevent chest pain)
  • Beta blockers and other medications for high blood pressure
  • Antacids
  • Antihistamines
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Corticosteroids

Other Factors Affecting the Health of Your Gums

The biggest factors affecting your periodontal health are your oral hygiene habits and your diet. Maintaining a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in processed foods and sugar is good for your teeth and gums. Additionally, you should brush and floss twice a day and drink plenty of water. Smoking is another common cause of gum disease, which is in your control.

Addressing the Problem of Medications and Poor Gum Health

The best way to ensure your medications do not result in poor gum health is to notify our dentists of all medications you take, even those that you do not take daily. In serious cases, we may need to work with your primary care physician to get you on medications that will not cause dry mouth.

If a change in medication is not an option, we may recommend more frequent dental exams and cleanings so we can monitor your gum health and remove plaque and tartar deposits more promptly. To combat dry mouth, you should increase the amount of water you are drinking and try chewing sugarless gum, which can help increase saliva production.

Schedule an Appointment

If you are experiencing dry mouth or you are seeing signs of gum disease, such as bleeding gums, contact Astoria Dental Group today to schedule an appointment.

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