Common Oral Side Effects of Medication

As a comprehensive care dentist, Dr. James Stewart of Livonia, Michigan, cares not only about the health and appearance of your smile, but also about your general health and well being. For Dr. Stewart and our team, part of helping you achieve the best version of yourself means working with your other medical care providers to ensure that all of your needs are met and that you—the patient—are our first priority. Today, Dr. Stewart wants to discuss one of the reasons why overarching medical care is important: because certain medications can have an impact on your oral health.

Oral Side Effects of Medication

Just like a number of other parts of the body, the balance of bacteria in the oral cavity is a delicate one that can easily be thrown off by certain forces, including infection or illness, foreign objects, and medication. Certain medications—including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, minerals, vitamins, and supplements—affect your oral health more than others.

  • Dry mouth is caused by a lack of saliva in the mouth.
    • Symptoms of dry mouth include a physically dry mouth, abnormal gingival bleeding, an altered taste, enlarged gums, cavities, teeth and gum color changes, thrush, and inflammation, sores, or discoloration of the soft tissues in the mouth.
    • There are more than 400 medications that have been known to contribute to dry mouth. These medications include antihistamines, high blood pressure medications, diuretics, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, decongestants, sedatives, painkillers, antidepressants, antacids, and Parkinson’s disease medications.
  • Abnormal bleeding occurs when the oral tissue bleeds unexpectedly and inconsistently.
    • Generally, the oral tissues bleed when the blood has a lessened ability to clot.
    • Medicines that cause abnormal bleeding include aspirin and anticoagulants, which help prevent heart attacks and stroke.
  • Altered taste is a common side effect of certain medications.
    • In many cases, certain medications can leave a metallic or bitter taste in your mouth. Other drugs can alter the taste of the foods and drinks you consume.
    • These medications include cardiovascular medications, central nervous system stimulants, metronidazole, some respiratory inhalants, and Nicotine patches.
  • Other oral health problems associated with medications include:
    • Irritation of oral soft tissue
    • Enlarged gums
    • Increased risk of cavities
    • Change of teeth and gum color
    • Loss of bone
    • Increased risk of thrush
    • Alteredbehavior

Getting Help

If you notice any of these side effects from your medication, call our Livonia dentist office immediately at (734) 425-4400. We strive to provide our patients with healthy smiles and, therefore, a healthy life. We believe that you deserve quality health care.