The Links Between Medication And Cavities

By Kenneth Bagby, D.D.S. on November 07, 2017

Oftentimes, cavities are considered to be something from youth: too much sugar, and not enough dental cleaning. But, it is also possible to get cavities later in life. This is especially true of older adults, people who require more daily medication. Some medications have the side-effect of dry mouth—dry mouth is a very, very common side-effect for many different types of medication. When a person suffers from an almost perpetual dry mouth, meaning that the saliva needed to clean away food debris is no longer prevalent, then our mouth’s natural defenses against bacteria aren’t working. And when bacteria thrive, then potentially chronic conditions, such as gum disease—gingivitis and the more severe periodontal disease—become possibilities.

The types of medications which have the potential side-effect of dry mouth are varied, but do include several very common medications such as: allergy, high cholesterol, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, even Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. This is why it is important to tell Dr. Bagby the medications you have been prescribed. He may be able to recommend certain at-home treatments to help relieve your perpetual dry mouth. When a medication causes certain side-effects, it is also important to tell your physician, as he or she may be able to make changes—if possible.

There are over-the-counter mouthwashes that work to counter the effects of dry mouth—if you have any questions as to which type or brand of mouthwash you should use, Dr. Bagby can make a recommendation based on your needs. Make sure to drink plenty of water, and, if at all possible, try and steer clear of sugary drinks. Water helps keep teeth clean, and it leaves nothing behind—such as sugar—to harm the teeth. Consider carrying a water bottle with you at all times. If you work at desk, fill up a water bottle such as BPA Free Nalgene—or similar—so that you always have fresh water at the ready. Try and avoid the foods and drinks that perpetuate dry mouth.

Take care of yourself. Remember, if you are suffering from any dental condition, call and make an appointment with Dr. Bagby.

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