There are many kinds of medication that are known for affecting teeth, primarily by causing dry mouth. However, not all of these medications are prescriptions. Did you know that there are over the counter (OTC) medications that can affect the health of your smile?
Many common medications can lead to dental health issues you should be aware of to help you take the best care of your smile. Here are some OTC medications that may affect the health of your teeth and gums!
Decongestants and Cough Syrup
Decongestants are meant to help the body expel mucus associated with colds and reduce inflammation. While decongestants can certainly help provide relief for colds and mucus buildup, they’re also known for causing dry mouth.
Saliva helps balance bacteria and protect your teeth from acids that can cause tooth decay. With less saliva in your mouth, your teeth are more susceptible to damage.
Cough syrup is also a culprit in dental health problems. While cough syrup doesn’t necessarily lead to dry mouth, these syrups usually have a considerable amount of sugar and are sticky in nature, which can be acidic on teeth and cause tooth enamel damage .
Acidic foods can be harmful to your teeth and also harsh on your stomach . For some people who enjoy acidic foods such as citrus fruits and tomatoes, antacids are helpful in reducing stomach discomfort. However, antacids can also cause dry mouth, and many of these liquids or tablets contain sugar, which has an additional harmful effect on teeth.
Antihistamines, or allergy medications, are known for causing dry mouth. As we’ve seen, dry mouth can affect your tooth enamel and bacteria in your oral cavity. Dry mouth can not only cause sensitive teeth, but increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease, so being aware of allergy medications’ impact on your dental health is important .
Aspirin is a very acidic over the counter medication that can affect your smile. If you take aspirin or dissolve aspirin in your mouth, be sure to drink water. In addition, your dentist should also know if you’re taking aspirin prior to any dental procedures as it could cause you to bleed more, although generally people on low doses of aspirin are at lower risk .
What Can You Do?
For medications that dry out the oral cavity, drinking enough water can help. If you need to take cough syrup, make sure to rinse your mouth afterward and wait about one hour before brushing your teeth to prevent tooth enamel damage.
If you do choose to eat acidic foods or take antacids, drinking water can help reduce the impact of both acids and antacids on teeth. Water is a great help when it comes to OTC medications that can affect teeth and gums!
Are you taking any of these medications? If so, always follow up with your dentist to keep your smile healthy and discuss how your OTC medication could be impacting your dental health!