How Medications Can Lead to Poor Gum Health By Burton Gooch on November 12, 2017

Allergy medication in the packageWhether by prescription or over-the-counter, medications can work wonders for wellness. If we're feeling ill, drugs can make us feel better or help control symptoms of medical conditions we're facing. Yet despite the benefits, medications do have side effects, and it's important to take these side effects into account. Some side effects can increase your risk for tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental health issues.

The team at our Birmingham restorative dentistry center would like to consider how drug side effects can lead to problems with your gums. We'll then offer some pointers on how to protect the health of your smile.

Medication Side Effects Shouldn't Be Ignored

While often minor, some side effects can lead to a number of issues if they are not properly accounted for. Always pay attention to side effects when your doctor or pharmacist gives you medication or when you read the labels of over-the-counter medications.

With regard to dental problems triggered by medication side effects, it's important to note any conditions that can affect the health of your gums.

Medications That Can Impact Periodontal Health

Some common medications can cause problems with periodontal health include:

  • Antacids
  • Antihistamines
  • Antidepressants
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Decongestants
  • Pain relievers

Why Dry Mouth Is Dangerous

Many medications cause dry mouth, which seems like a minor matter but can actually lead to major dental health problems. For one, dry mouth allows oral bacteria to thrive. This makes your teeth more prone to acidic erosion and tooth decay, which means a great likelihood of developing cavities and fractures.

Apart from affecting the teeth, dry mouth can also have a negative impact on the gums. The oral bacteria in the mouth can make gum disease much more likely, as well as gum recession and a host of other problems.

Other Issues That Medications Can Trigger

In addition to dry mouth, medications side effects can also impact the gums in a variety of ways. Some other potential periodontal health issues from medications include:

  • Gum irritation
  • Gum discoloration
  • Oral sores
  • Oral thrush (fungal infection)

Given all of these issues, it's imperative that you take all medication side effects seriously.

Should I Stop Taking My Medication If It Affects My Gums?


A drastic solution like cutting off the use of your medication will not be helpful at all. Instead, it's important that you consider ways of mitigating the side effects you experience to protect your gums and teeth from potential harm.

Be sure to discuss any medication side effects with your doctor or pharmacist. They can offer pointers on how to prevent problems. For over-the-counter drugs, check online for advice on dealing with side effects.

Tips for Preventing Gum Health Issues

Some good ways to avoid periodontal health problems from medication side effects include:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day (ideally after every meal)
  • Floss your teeth at least once a day (ideally after every meal)
  • Drink water throughout the day to stay properly hydrated
  • Avoid smoking and the use of tobacco products
  • Avoid consuming alcoholic beverages, especially in excess
  • Visit your dentist twice a year for regular checkups

Learn More About Improving Your Periodontal Health

If you would like to learn more about improving your dental health and wellness, be sure to contact an experienced cosmetic and restorative dentist today. We at Dr. Burton Gooch Family & Cosmetic Dentistry look forward to your visit and discussing these matters with you in greater detail.

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Gooch Family Dental

Gooch Family Dental

Gooch Family Dental is dedicated to providing convenient, comprehensive dentistry to the community in Birmingham, AL. We take advantage of the latest dental technology to streamline treatment, and deliver fast, beautiful results. Our proud affiliations include:

  • The American Dental Association
  • Academy of General Dentistry
  • Birmingham District Dental Society
  • The Alabama Dental Association

You can learn more about our services, and schedule an appointment today by filling out our online form, or by calling (205) 991-9892.

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