Medication Side Effects on Oral Health

Medication Side Effects on Oral Health

People in their life takes a lot of medicine but have ever thought what will this medicine do to our mouth and medicine?

Generally, medicines are designed to give relief to your body but we have also heard of the side effects caused by medicine on our bodies. But the medicine taken either orally or injected into the body can cause risk to your mouth i.e., oral problems. Medicines that are used to treat high blood pressure, cancer, allergies, depression, severe pain, and a common cold can affect your dental health. Not only your doctor as well as a dentist should be aware of the medicines you are taking, including over-the-counter products, supplements, and vitamins.

Some of the most common mouth-related side effects from medications are as follows:

Fungal infection: inhaler medication used by asthma patients can lead to yeast infection in the mouth which is called oral candidiasis. To prevent this side effect, rinse your mouth with water every time you use an inhaler.

Dry mouth (xerostomia): intake of some drugs can reduce the amount of saliva in your mouth, causing uncomfortable in your mouth also termed as Xerostomia. Without saliva in the mouth, the tissues get irritated and inflamed. This can increase the risk for tooth decay, infection, and gum disease. In some cases, chemotherapy medicines can also lead to dry mouth.

    Some medicines that can lead to dry mouth as side effects are:



Lung inhalers

Parkinson’s disease medications

Seizure medications

Anti-anxiety medications

Narcotic pain medications

Anti-spasm medications

Alzheimer’s disease medications


Isotretinoin used to treat acne

Certain heart and blood pressure medications include calcium channel blockers, beta-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, and diuretics.

Dry mouth can be cause problems for you but many times benefits of using medicine can outweigh the risk attached to the dry mouth. To make your mouth relieve try drinking plenty of water or chewing sugarless gum.

Gum swelling (Gingival overgrowth): some medications can cause buildup in gum tissue often termed as ‘Gingival overgrowth’. In this condition, the gum tissue becomes so swollen that it grows over the teeth leading to the risk of periodontal disease. Swollen gum tissues provide a favorable environment for bacteria to grow and damage surrounding tooth structure.

Medicines that can cause gum swelling and overgrowth are:

Phenytoin, a seizure medication

Blood pressure medications are called calcium channel blockers, which include nifedipine, verapamil, diltiazem, and amlodipine.


Men tend to have this side effect and having dental plaque increases the risk more. Follow good oral hygiene and visit a dentist for regular check-ups (perhaps every three months) can help the lower chance of developing this condition.

Know about Tooth Erosion

Tooth erosion is the loss of the surface of your teeth due to the acids you drink or eat or acids coming from the stomach. These acids dissolve the crystals which help in making your teeth, leading to loss of tooth surface. These acids can even soften the tooth surface making it easy to be worn away by teeth grinding.

How stomach acids can cause teeth erosion:

Our stomach contains very strong acids that are used to digest food. Reflux and vomiting can cause strong acids to enter your mouth.

Stomach acids used for digestion are strong and can cause damage to your teeth. For example, people with morning sickness and reflux can experience this problem.

Dietary sources of acids that can cause tooth erosion:

Common food and drinks that contain a high level of acid:

 Energy drinks

Cold drinks (sugar-free and containing sugar)

Fruit juices

Lemon flavored teas and drinks

Citrus fruits (limes, lemons, oranges)



Vitamin c tablets

Vitamin water

Pre-mixed alcoholic drinks

Food acids are commonly used in processed food and drinks, if check the ingredient list given on the packet you can see if food acids are added or not. The ingredients are listed in order of their amount present in food with the most is listed first.

Symptoms of tooth erosions:

One sign of tooth erosion is the loss of the surface of the tooth, which can lead to a shiny, smooth appearance. Tooth erosion can expose tooth roots making them more sensitive to cold, hot, or sweet food and drinks.

  When tooth erosion increases, the enamel may wear away to expose underlying dentine, this area looks like yellow depressions on the surface. Fillings in teeth become more prominent when the surrounding tooth surface is dissolving away due to erosion.

Tooth erosion complications:

Tooth erosion, if untreated can lead to loss of the tooth surface. The loss of tooth structure requires dental treatment like dental fillings, crowns, veneers, and root canal treatment.

How to prevent tooth erosion:

Tooth erosion can only be prevented by limiting the contact of acids with teeth.

Eat a well-balanced and healthy diet.

Avoid drinking soft drinks or juice.

Consume fruits rather than drinking fruit juices.

Consult a doctor to manage reflux or vomiting.

Eat fruits during mealtime not between the meals.

Avoid chewing vitamin c tablets. If necessary, take vitamin c supplements that are swallowed whole.

Use sugar-free chewing gum after a meal to promote saliva flow.

Treatment for tooth erosion:

If your tooth has eroded, visit your dentist as the lost surface of the tooth needs to be replaced with dental fillings or crowns. It is very important to make regular visits to the dentist to identify tooth erosion at an early stage, determine the cause, and then develop a strategy to prevent further erosion.


Talking about oral health brushing twice a day, flossing, regular dental check-ups all are important but one factor which everyone avoids is your diet-what you eat and how often you eat. The change will start when you eat certain foods. Bacteria present in your mouth convert carbohydrates and sugar into acids, these acids will attack the enamel of teeth, starting to decay teeth.

The often you are eating a snack you are exposing more your teeth to decay and the time between the meals allows the saliva to wash away these bacteria. Frequent snacking during the daytime, without brushing immediately gives fuel to bacteria.

Healthy foods and drinks for the mouth:

Best food choices for your healthy teeth include cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese, Monterey jack, nuts.  These food items contain calcium and phosphorous that help in remineralize teeth (a natural process by which minerals are redeposited in teeth enamel that are washed by acids). If you’re lactose intolerant in that case you have to avoid milk and dairy products can switch to spinach and broccoli as they also contain a high amount of calcium.

Fruits and vegetables like apples, melons, peas, cucumbers, and celery have high water content which dilutes the effect of sugar they contain. Acidic foods such as citrus tomatoes, lemon contain acid so they should be eaten as part of a larger meal to minimize the acid content.

Poor food choices for your teeth are jellybeans, hard candies, lollipops, bread, cakes, muffins, cookies, pies, French fries, caramel, bananas, raisins, honey, and other dried fruits. These foods have large sugar content and also stick to the teeth giving chance to bacteria. Cough drops should be used when necessary as they are like sugary candy can coat sugar on your teeth.

If you are planning to give your child sweets better give them as desserts immediately after your food reason being during meal time amount of saliva in the mouth is very high washing away sugary content. The best beverage for teeth includes unsweetened tea and fluoridated water. Limit your consumption of sugary drinks like tea, lemonade, coffee, soft drinks with added sugar.

Is chewing gum ok for teeth?

Many people consider chewing gum bad for your teeth but chewing sugarless gums is beneficial to your teeth as chewing helps in removing foods that are stuck in your teeth and also increases the flow of saliva to neutralize acids in the mouth. Some gums even contain ingredients that can reduce cavities and avoid if you have jaw pain.

Gums and teeth care tips:

Brush your teeth regularly. Brush twice a day morning and night before sleeping. If brushing between the meals is not possible then rinse your mouth with water several times.

Use fluoride-containing toothpaste to avoid early decay.

Floss at least once a day to remove food particles stuck between teeth and below the gumline.

Visit your dentist regularly after every six months for check-ups and cleanings. Getting regular check-ups can avoid future dental problems.

Avoid eating food that contains high sugary content and choose nutritious foods such as raw vegetables, apples, plain yogurt, and cheese.