It is important to know and understand the side effects resulting from a particular medication and how to reduce or eliminate them in an effort to maintain good oral health. Taking appropriate hygienic measures also decreases many general health symptoms as much of the bacteria in the mouth is cleared before entering the body.
Depending on the health condition, complete health dentists can offer insights on how to relieve dry mouth, enlarged gums, abnormal bleeding, taste changes, tissue reactions, bone loss, discoloration, and thrush infection. In most cases, patients cannot decide against taking medications, but dentists may lower their dosage or alter the medication to suit their oral needs. Patients should seek medical and dental advice regarding medications while also maintaining a proper oral hygiene regimen.
Cancer and chemotherapy medications can affect the teeth, gums, and jawbone. The American Dental Association (ADA) found that chemotherapy medications cause soft tissue reactions such as the development of oral sores, inflammation, and discoloration of soft tissues in the mouth. These reactions can lead to dry mouth syndrome.
Dry mouth irritation can eventually lead to tooth decay, tooth loss, and gum disease as there is not enough remaining tissue in the gums. Drinking plenty of water and chewing sugarless gum can enhance saliva production and relieve some of the symptoms associated with dry mouth. Saliva substitutes are also effective in combating dry mouth.
Psychoactive medications refer to drugs that change the brain's function and alter a person's perception, mood, cognition, consciousness, or behavior. These medications include, but are not limited to, antidepressants, anti-anxiety, stimulants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers. Behavior and mood-altering drugs can cause dry mouth syndrome and increase the risk of tooth deterioration.
Diabetes medications can alter a patient's sense of taste, known as dysgeusia. According to WebMD, dysgeusia can make food taste different or cause a metallic, salty, or bitter taste in your mouth. Taste changes can lead to insufficient nutrition due to a lack of taste and appetite, which may increase oral conditions.
Periodontal disease is the most common dental disease affecting those living with diabetes, affecting nearly 22% of those diagnosed. With age, diabetic patients experience poor blood sugar control, increasing their risk of gum disease that can also affect their ability to control blood sugar levels. Gum problems make diabetes harder to control because the patient is more susceptible to infection but less able to fight it.
While the medications and conditions listed above are limited, they cover a wide variety of other medications under the same umbrella and have the same or similar side effects/symptoms. For example, regulatory medications may also include high and lower blood pressure medications.
Oral and general health are linked, affecting one another. In many cases, oral health conditions indicate underlying general health issues, and a complete health dentist can diagnose them early for preventative treatments or altering medications. They can also explain how certain medications affect the patient's oral health and how they can better care for their mouth.
Complete health dentists and doctors may work together, but that is not always the case. The primary goal for each is to provide a comprehensive plan that targets all health concerns, oral or systemic. By working together, a patient is more likely to experience enhanced well-being and reduced pain or discomfort.
Non-medicinal drugs can lead to dry mouth, bad breath, mouth sores, and gingivitis. These conditions occur because most non-medicinal drugs are stimulants that cause a person to grind or clench their teeth, erode teeth enamel, and reduce the amount of saliva needed to clear the mouth of bacteria and food particles. Many drug users also have poor oral care routines, making them less likely to visit a dentist regularly or maintain their oral health at home.
Many vitamins and supplements aid in saliva production or fight oral bacteria. Ionic mineral supplements (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and silica), fluoridated water, oral-specific probiotics can greatly improve oral health. Lastly, eating mineral-rich foods balances the pH levels in the mouth, reducing acidity, and fighting against cavity development.