Understanding the Link between Medications and Poor Gum Health

Medications and Poor Gum Health - Woodinville, WA

May 21, 2017 — by Cristin Dowd, DDS
Tags: General Dentistry Restorative Dentistry

Medications and Poor Gum HealthWhen your doctor prescribes a medication, he or she will review the potential side effects. However, both you and your physician may overlook the link between medications and poor gum health. Certain drugs can dramatically raise your risk for periodontal disease, which is the result of excess oral bacteria. In turn, gum disease can then increase your risk for tooth loss and other systemic conditions.

If your medications have compromised your oral health, Signature Smiles in Woodinville, WA can provide treatment to eradicate bacteria and keep gum disease under control. We also offer restorative dentistry to replace loose or missing teeth. In some cases, we will prescribe other medications that will help to combat oral bacteria.

Some Medications Can Compromise Periodontal Wellness

Many medications list dry mouth as one of the common side effects. Among others, these drugs include:

  • Blood pressure medications
  • Antihistamines
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Antidepressants
  • Decongestants
  • Pain medications

Dry mouth may only seem like a mild annoyance. In reality, it can actually be quite detrimental. Your saliva does not simply keep your mouth moist and comfortable. It also helps to wash away bacteria and food particles. Plus, saliva contains enzymes that can actually destroy existing bacteria. Therefore, when you suffer from dry mouth, it is more likely that microbes will build up.

Seniors require the above medications more frequently. This is one reason that your risk for gum disease increases as you grow older.

If you suffer from epilepsy, your doctor may have prescribed phenytoin. This medication can cause gingival overgrowth, and the excess gum tissue can make it much more difficult to clean your teeth. Food particles and bacteria may become trapped beneath the enlarged tissue, increasing your risk for gum disease and tooth decay. Anticonvulsant medications are most often associated with gingival overgrowth. However, immunosuppressant drugs and calcium channel blockers can also have this effect.

Medications to Improve Your Oral Health

While some medications can compromise your dental wellness, antibiotics can help to eradicate bacteria and control gum disease. If you are suffering from periodontitis, our dentists will evaluate its severity to determine whether you might need medications. We usually use periodontal trays. You will fill them with an antibiotic gel to apply the drugs directly to your gums in the comfort of your own home.

Restorative Dentistry Can Help If You Are Already Suffering from Gum Disease

Typically, we will provide antibiotics in conjunction with other restorative treatments. Scaling and root planing, also known as a deep cleaning, is one of the most common periodontal procedures. During this process, your practitioner will manually remove bacterial pockets and smooth away the rough patches on your dental roots. Without this step, the small fissures can easily trap bacteria and lead to a flare-up.

After removing bacteria, your dentist will address any dental damage. Often, periodontitis can cause tooth loss, since the gum tissue will pull away from the tooth roots. We provide a number of tooth replacement options. For example, dental implants will permanently replace both the crowns of your teeth, as well as the roots. If you have severe gum disease that has compromised your jawbone, your dentist may recommend a bone graft.

Contact Us to Learn More

To find out how your medications may be impacting your gum health, contact Signature Smiles today. You can also book an appointment to address existing periodontitis and restore your healthy smile.

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