Can Medication Impact Gum Health?
Most people take proactive steps every day to maintain the health of their teeth and gums. Healthy habits such as brushing and flossing go a long way in the preservation of oral health. Unfortunately, there are other things a person may do that can have a negative impact on the health of the gums. While some of these damaging habits are pretty obvious (like eating sugary foods, smoking, etc.) others are not so obvious. For instance, certain medications can actually impact oral health, particularly gum health.
Poor gum health leaves many patients in need of restorative dentistry treatment to address oral health problems, such as inflamed and tender gum tissues. At Silvers Family Dental Care, we understand how poor gum health and medications can impact our Harrisburg, PA patients, so we offer the general and restorative dentistry services that allow patients to maintain a healthy smile despite their medication needs.
Which Medications Affect Gum Health?
All medications have potential side effects, and, unfortunately, some of those side effects may impact oral health. The side effect that is primarily responsible for compromised gum health is dry mouth. The mouth uses saliva as its natural cleanser. Saliva aids in digestion and helps rinse away food particles and bacteria from the teeth and gums. If a medication causes dry mouth, that natural cleanser will be gone and patients will be at greater risk for poor gum health. Some medications that are known to cause dry mouth, and thus, poor gum health, include:
- Beta blockers and blood pressure medications
- Seizure medications
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Certain birth controls
How to Preserve Gum Health
If a doctor has prescribed medication, it is necessary to control an illness or disease, so it is likely not going to be possible for a patient to change medications to avoid dry mouth. However, with proper oral care, a patient can minimize the risk of advanced gum disease. The following steps are important for preserving gum health, especially when using a medication that can cause dry mouth:
- Brush at least twice a day
- Rinse the mouth with water after every meal
- Floss nightly
- Schedule routine dental exams and cleanings at least twice a year (patients with dry mouth may benefit from three or four routine exams each year)
- Chew on sugar-free gum to promote saliva production
- Stay well-hydrated
If a patient does exhibit the early signs of gum disease, we can provide appropriate periodontal treatment. Periodontal treatment will eliminate infection from the gum tissues to restore oral health and prevent further dental complications, such as tooth loss. In most cases, gum disease can be effectively treated with a deep cleaning procedure known as root planing and scaling. This technique allows us to reach beneath the gum line to eliminate infection-causing bacteria. If the patient is not responsive to this treatment method for whatever reason, we can discuss more advanced treatment options.
Professional dental care is one of the most beneficial practices when it comes to preserving gum health. If you are concerned about the health of your teeth or gums, contact us at your earliest convenience to learn more about the comprehensive range of dental services offered at Silvers Family Dental Care.