You have probably already heard about specific foods and drinks that can negatively impact your smile. It is well-known, for example that sugar helps oral bacteria grow and multiply (which is why it sugar use leads to cavities and gum disease). However, you may not have thought about the ways in which regularly used medications can affect oral health. With that in mind, keep reading to learn more from our Novato dentist…
One common side effects of both over-the-counter and prescription medications is dry mouth. Dry mouth occurs when your body is not producing enough saliva to keep your mouth hydrated, or when saliva is evaporating out of your mouth too quickly. Here’s the problem: bacteria actually love a dry environment. Saliva actively works against bacteria accumulation, and it helps to re-mineralize your dental enamel. So, while dry mouth my simply seem like a nuisance, the truth is that it can actually wreak havoc on your oral health.
The same goes for acid reflux: medications that upset your stomach propel stomach acid from your digestive tract up through your esophagus to your mouth. Abrasive stomach acid irritates sensitive oral tissues and de-mineralizes enamel. If you are dealing with acid reflux, please take the time to rinse your mouth with water frequently throughout the day. And if acid reflux is occurring regularly, it may be time to ask your doctor about alternative treatment options.
Finally, there are some medications that have side effects related to dental development. Specifically, the antibiotic tetracycline can cause children to grow permanent teeth that are stained or irregularly textured. This is why in today’s age tetracycline is rarely recommended for pediatric use. If you aren’t sure whether tetracycline is appropriate for your child, talk to your doctor and dentist about your concerns.
Remember, you can always contact our Novato dentists to get more information, or if you have questions about the oral-health-effects of a specific medication. We’re here to help you make the best decisions for your smile day-in and day-out!