Medication and Swollen Gums
Medications are necessary for individuals with health concerns. However, no matter how much our health depends on these medications, there are bound to be side effects. Many people are not aware that a number of prescription drugs, supplements, vitamins and minerals have varying effects on our oral health. Some of the most common oral health issues include swollen gums, dry mouth, extra sensitive or tender gums, bleeding of the gums, discoloration of gums and teeth, and changes in one’s taste buds. In certain situations, individuals experience bone loss.
Medication Side Effects
Your gums are the most affected part of your mouth whenever side effects set in. Medications mainly cause dry mouth, which may gradually lead to tooth decay and gum infections when not addressed immediately.
Hundreds of medications tend to prevent saliva from flowing normally, thereby triggering mouth dryness. The saliva is particularly an important component. It contains enzymes that help clean your mouth. One should pay attention to these medications and come up with backup solutions to avoid dry mouth and other oral health problems.
Antacids (medications for stomach acidity), antihistamines (medications for allergies), antidepressants (for the treatment or prevention of certain mental health issues like depression), pain killers, sedatives, high blood pressure prescription medicines and nasal decongestants are known to cause dry mouth. Antacids, which contain sugar, are also likely to cause cavities.
Bleeding gums are often the result of taking aspirins or blood thinners. These types of medications are usually prescribed for people at risk of contracting stroke or heart attacks. Aspirins and anticoagulants reduce blood clotting, causing your gums to bleed easily during surgeries and such.
Many prescription drugs for cardiovascular ailments, organ transplants and neuro problems (including seizures) tend to cause gum inflammation. People who are taking these types of medication need to be careful whenever they brush or floss their teeth. The gums will enlarge with rough brushing or flossing.
Oral Health Measures
Since it is important to take these medications, make sure to seek advice from your doctor or dentist on how to counter the inevitable side effects. There are also things you can do on your own such as:
• Drinking as much water as needed (ideally 8 glasses or more on a daily basis)
• Avoiding sugary, caffeinated, alcoholic and artificial beverages
• Cutting back on salt and spice
• Using a safe products that help produce saliva
• Staying away from extremely hot and dry places
• Using a toothbrush with soft bristles and flossing more gently
• Consulting with your dentist or doctor regularly and giving updates on your oral health condition
• Always using a fluoride toothpaste for brushing your teeth
Remember that prevention is better than cure. If you are currently on medication, take note of the above mentioned initiatives to maintain your oral health.