Can Weak Bones Mean Weak Teeth? Are Your Medications Harming Your Teeth?


Medications

People aren’t always aware that “systemic” disease (affecting the whole body) may also have a negative impact on the health of your mouth. Osteoporosis affects many Australians. The most common group of drugs used to treat osteoporosis is called bisphosphonates. Although bisphosphonates have really positive effects on osteoporosis, they can have very negative effects on the health of your mouth. Because of their effect on bone, bisphosphonates can cause a condition called ‘Osteonecrosis of the Jaw’ (ONJ), which is described as a very painful and often infected non-healing area of exposed bone in the mouth. This condition usually presents after a tooth extraction but can also be caused by uncontrolled gum disease or even poorly fitting dentures, and the really bad news is that ONJ has no known cure. So if you are about to commence taking an osteoporosis medication, having a thorough dental examination prior to starting is a great way to go. If you are already taking these medications what should you do? Well, firstly you should continue taking your medication as your doctor prescribes. Secondly 犀利士, you need to maintain your teeth and gums to a very high standard. This means having regular dental examinations, and treating problems early to avoid the risk of ONJ associated with tooth extraction and gum disease.

Having a dry mouth may not seem like a big deal to most people, but healthy saliva is the absolute corner stone to having good teeth. Without saliva, dental disease can run rampant in a very short amount of time if it is not identified and managed early. The most common cause of dry mouth is the use of medications. We now know that more than 400 different commonly prescribed medications cause dry mouth, but the ones we see most frequently are blood pressure medications, antidepressants, some asthma medications, some pain killers and sedatives. These effects are so common in our communities that it is estimated that 1 in 5 elderly people suffer from dry mouth and its associated problems. What’s more, a lack of saliva might not be immediately obvious to someone taking medications, but there are a few tell-tale signs that you can look out for. These include waking up at night or in the morning with a dry mouth (obviously!), bad breath, having difficulty chewing and swallowing dry foods like crackers, having a burning sensation in your mouth with sweet or acidic foods and frequent cracks or ulcers in the mouth or on the lips. Because people with dry mouths can suffer extremely aggressive forms of tooth decay and generally have a huge amount more plaque build-up, they need to be especially diligent in attending regular dental examinations. Of great importance is the role of the dental hygienist in providing regular preventative care. They can also help you manage your dry mouth at home so that you can avoid the potentially damaging but preventable dental diseases associated with this condition. We also stress that you should never stop taking your medication, and if you have any questions about the medication that you are on please consult your doctor.