Key Takeaways

  • Many medications can have a negative effect on your oral health.
  • Update and review your health and medication status every time you see your dentist.

You may use prescriptions and over-the counter-drugs to help treat a medical condition or health problem. But many medications can have a negative effect on your oral health. For example:

  • Asthma inhalers that are high in acid can dissolve tooth enamel if used often.
  • Cough syrups that have a high sugar content may result in tooth decay.
  • Antihistamines and antidepressants may cause dry mouth.
  • Aspirins, blood thinners and some herbal remedies may affect the ability of the blood to clot.

It’s important to update your dentist on your health and medication status. This includes those medications you take on occasion. For example, you may use a puffer only at certain times of the year when your asthma flares up. You need to tell your dentist about that as well.

Your dentist should be aware of everything you are taking. Not only can they avoid any possible negative interactions, but they can also take appropriate precautions before beginning routine dental procedures.

Checklist of what to tell your dentist:

  • All medications that you take, both prescription and over-the-counter
  • Vitamins
  • Naturopathic or herbal supplements
  • Antidepressants
  • Blood thinners. These medications act to reduce the body’s natural clotting mechanisms. Minor bleeding can happen during simple dental procedures, such as tooth cleanings. Let your dentist know you’re taking these medications before any dental treatment.

Also tell your dentist about:

  • Any medical conditions your physician is treating you for. For example, diabetes, asthma, a heart condition or autoimmune disease.
  • Allergies to specific drugs or substances. An allergy to latex is the first thing you should tell your dentist. since they and the dental team wear latex gloves.
  • Any surgeries you’ve had, especially those involving the heart, joints (e.g. artificial knee or hip replacement) or head and neck areas. Antibiotics may be needed to prevent infection associated with certain dental procedures.

What to Expect at Your First Appointment

Your dentist will ask you many questions. Be prepared.

Learn more