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Common Medications and Their Oral Side Effects

While medication provide cure to diseases they also have their side effects. Some of these side effects concern oral health. Some medications even hamper routine dental treatment. Normally these side effects resolve after one stops taking the medication. But, it is advisable that one should always tell his/her dentist about their medical problems and the drugs they are taking when they go on a dental checkup.

Some common drugs and their oral side effects are outlined below.

Aspirin, Heparin or Warfarin -

They are prescribed to treat strokes or heart disease. These are used to reduce coagulation of blood in patients. However, these drugs can cause excessive bleeding during oral surgery such as extraction of tooth or periodontal treatment (treatment of tooth supporting structures such as gum). If you’re going through a dental treatment, be sure to talk to your dentist about these medications, especially if the dental procedure involves bleeding.


These drugs are prescribed to relief pain.Sometimes it might cause the ulceration in mouth.

Calcium channel blockers, anti-seizure medications, immuno suppressant drugs-

These drugs are prescribed to heart patients, patients with seizures and in patients with organ transplants respectively. They can cause abnormal growth of gum tissue, also referred to as gingival hyperplasia. Tissue overgrowth can lead to severe oral hygiene problems. In a severe case gingivectomy (a procedure used to remove excess tissue) might be necessary. So if you are taking any of the medication, it is advisable to maintain a good oral hygiene from the beginning and go through regular dental checkups.

Tetracycline –

A fairly common antibiotic is prescribed in many cases. Prescription of this drug to pregnant women and growing children could result in permanent staining in the child’s teeth. Normally the teeth get yellowish or brownish in colour. These staining do not go away by cleaning. Bleaching can be used to lighten the stains. Also cosmetic techniques like veneers and crown can be used to mask the stains. If you have previously taken tetracycline in your early childhood and your teeth are stained, your dentist can help you to resolve it.

Antihistamines –

It is also a common prescription these are commonly prescribed in cases of allergies. These drugs cause a decrease in saliva production. Normal flow of saliva is important for the natural cleansing of mouth. So decrease in saliva leaves food debris in the mouth making suitable environment for bacterial growth. This in turn makes your mouth prone to inflammation, pain and infection. Tooth decay can also develop in some cases. An easy remedy to dry mouth is drinking more water. Sugarless lozenges or chewing gums can also stimulate the flow of saliva.

These are some common drugs that have oral side effects but the list does not end here. There are other drugs too which also effect our mouth. So helping your dentist know about your medical conditions and the drugs you are taking will in turn help you. Share your medical conditions with your dentist in every dental checkup.

Helpful Hints

To most of us dental visit is just about teeth. But if you are suffering from certain disease or are taking some medication, it might be more than that. These simple acts in your part can avoid some serious medical mishaps.

  1. If you are taking aspirin or other types of anticoagulant drugs you have to stop that drug prior to oral surgery as per your physician’s suggestion.
  2. Some drugs prescribed in dental treatment are contraindicated to pregnant and lactating woman .Talk about the situation with your dentist before taking any medicine.
  3. Anaesthetic solution used in dental treatments contain adrenaline. This can be harmful if you have a high blood pressure. So always tell your dentist about your blood pressure.
  4. If you have a gastric problem please talk about it because painkiller prescribed to you might cause you more serious gastric problem.
  5. If you have any disease which can be transmitted to others such as Aids, Hepatitis etc. please do not hesitate to talk about it because special precaution is needed to make sure that these disease don’t transmit to others.
  6. If you have a high blood glucose level it is not advisable to go through a surgical procedure because healing will be delayed. Please let your dentist know about the glucose level in case he suggests a surgical process.
  7. Some drugs are allergic to certain people. If you know that you are allergic to any of such medication let your dentist know about it.
  8. When taking any medication prescribed by your dentist it is important to finish it. Many people take prescribed medicine, especially antibiotics, only until they feel better. Dosages are exact and are necessary to fight or prevent infections.

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