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Health Conditions, Drugs, and Diseases That Cause Dental Problems

Health Conditions, Drugs, and Diseases That Cause Dental Problems

Did you know that there are a number of health conditions, medications, and diseases that can cause dental problems? There are a number that can cause tooth problems, such as gingivitis, periodontitis, and tooth decay. However, that is not all!

Find out what health conditions and diseases will make you more prone to having problems with your teeth and gums in this article.

Which health conditions and diseases cause dental problems?

Some health conditions can cause dental problems, and you should be aware of them. Understanding that there is a link between them can help you to be more aware of potential problems. It can also help you to be more proactive in seeking treatment and/or taking steps to prevent tooth problems.

Diabetes

If your diabetes is not under control, it can lead to periodontal disease and other problems associated with your gums, such as gingivitis.  Periodontal disease is a serious infection of the gums that can damage the bone and tissues that support your teeth.

If you have diabetes, it is important to control your blood sugar levels. If you develop symptoms for gum disease, see a dentist right away. That way they can check for signs of periodontal disease and help you take steps to reverse it before it’s too late.

Radiation therapy

If you are undergoing radiation therapy, it is important to be aware that this can cause problems with your teeth. Radiation therapy can create ulcers, damage your salivary glands, and also increase your likelihood of dry mouth.

If you are undergoing radiation therapy, it is important to keep your mouth clean and healthy. You might also want to see your dentist regularly to check for any problems.

Sjogren’s Syndrome

This is an autoimmune disease that can cause dry mouth. This can lead to a number of problems, such as cavities and gum disease.

If you have Sjogren’s Syndrome, it is important to keep your mouth moist. You can do this by drinking plenty of water and avoiding dehydrating beverages like coffee and alcohol.

Lupus

This is another autoimmune diseases that cause dental problems. Lupus can cause ulcers and swelling of the gums.

Many of the medications used to treat it can also lead to dry mouth. Dry mouth is a risk factor for cavities and gum disease.

Huntington’s Disease

Huntington’s Disease is a neurological disorder that can cause problems with your teeth. It can cause involuntary movements, which can lead to clenching and grinding of the teeth. This can damage the teeth and put you at risk for other oral problems.

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease is another neurological diseases that cause dental problems. It can cause involuntary movements, difficulty in swallowing, and jaw pain. This can cause saliva in your mouth to pool, leading to a build up in bacteria which cause cavities.

ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease)

A neurological condition that can cause problems with your teeth. It can cause muscle weakness, difficulty in swallowing. This can make brushing and flossing difficult. It can also lead to saliva building up in your mouth. That can lead to a buildup of bacteria and an increased risk for cavities, gum disease, and other dental problems.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

There is a long and well known connection between rheumatoid arthritis and problems with your teeth. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause inflammation of the tissues around the teeth, as well as damage to the bones that support the teeth.

Kidney Disease 

Kidney disease can cause problems with your body’s ability to fight off infection. From the standpoint of oral health, this is a concern because it can lead to gum disease and tooth loss.

HIV

Not only are people who are HIV positive more likely to develop oral herpes, but they are prone to dry mouth as well, which increases the risk for developing dental health problems such as cavities and gum disease.

Hepatitis C

Also known as Hep C, a common risk factor is dry mouth. This can lead to a buildup of bacteria and an increased risk for cavities, gum disease, and other problems.

Organ transplant

It is important that you have your dental health in control prior to an organ transplant. The reason is that the medications used to prevent organ rejection can also weaken the immune system. That can lead to an increased risk for infection and an inability to combat bad bacteria which can put you at risk for dental problems.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy can cause a number of changes in your mouth. It can increase the risk for gum disease and cavities. Pregnancy can also cause morning sickness, which can lead to vomiting. Vomiting can put you at risk for tooth erosion.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle. This can put you at risk for tooth loss. Osteoporosis can also cause a change in the alignment of your teeth.

Opioid use

Opioid use, with or without a prescription, is strongly connected to risk factors for cavities such as dry mouth. Dry mouth is a known cause of tooth decay and gum disease. 

Bulimia and other eating disorders

Eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia can cause a number of problems with your teeth. They can cause tooth erosion from the stomach acids that are brought up during vomiting. They can also cause dry mouth, which is a risk factor for cavities and gum disease.

Other drugs that cause dry mouth

Since dry mouth is a known cause for negative oral health consequences, we need to be aware of what can cause it. Here are some commonly prescribed or OTC drugs that cause dry mouth:

  • Alzheimer’s meds such as Exelon (rivastigmine), Aricept (donepezil), and Razadyne (galantamine) 
  • Most antidepressants such as Serotonin, Tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) 
  • Parkinson’s disease drugs such as Cogentin (benztropine), Artane (trihexyphenidyl), and Parlodel (bromocriptine) 
  • Anti-anxiety drugs such as Paxil (paroxetine), Ativan (lorazepam), and Xanax (alprazolam)
  • Antihistamines such as Tavist (clemastine), Benadryl (diphenhydramine), and Zyrtec (cetirizine)
  • Sedatives such as Lunesta (eszopiclone), Ambien (zolpidem), and Sonata(zaleplon) 
  • High blood pressure meds such as Lopressor (metoprolol), Catapres (clonidine), and Minipress (prazosin)
  • Parkinson’s disease drugs such as Cogentin (benztropine), Artane (trihexyphenidyl), and Parlodel (bromocriptine) 
  • Antipsychotics such as Risperdal (risperidone), Seroquel (quetiapine), and Stelazine (trifluoperazine) 
  • Benzodiazepines such as Valium (diazepam), Xanax (alprazolam), and Restoril (temazepam)
  • Blood pressure & heart meds such as Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, and heart rhythm medications
  • Diuretics such as Bumex (bumetanide), Edecrin (ethacrynic acid), and Lasix (furosemide)
  • Decongestants such as Sudafed (pseudoephedrine), Afrin (oxymetazoline), and Vicks Sinex (oxymetazoline)
  • Analgesics such as NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.), Tylenol (acetaminophen), Morphine, Codeine, and Hydrocodone
  • Bronchodilators such as Flonase Allergy Relief (​​fluticasone), Albuterol, and Advair Diskus (fluticasone propionate-salmeterol)
  • Stimulants such as  Adderall, (dextroamphetamine/amphetamine), Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine), Concerta (methylphenidate), and caffeine

While these are some of the most well-known drugs that can cause dry mouth, there are many others not listed here. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list. You should find out all of the known side-effects for the drugs you are taking. 

If you are concerned about a medication you are taking and its effects on your oral health, you should speak with your dentist and/or doctor.

Treating dry mouth

There are some effective methods for treating dry mouth. These include:

  • Sucking on sugar-free candy
  • Drinking plenty of water throughout the day
  • Chewing sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production
  • Using a humidifier
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco use

It is a good idea to combine most if not all of these methods for treating dry mouth for better results.

Conclusion

While there are many health conditions, drugs, and diseases that cause dental problems, there are also many ways to prevent or treat these problems.

Be sure to see your dentist regularly and to speak with your doctor about any medications you are taking. Especially if you think that they may be causing dry mouth or other dental problems. With the proper preventive dental care and other precautions, you should be able to maintain good oral health despite these risk factors.

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