What Is The Link Between Medications And Cavities?

Prescription medications bring relief and healing for many ailments, but some medicines cause dry mouth, a condition that can increase your chances of cavities and gum disease. More than 600 prescription and over-the-counter medications are linked to dry mouth. People suffering dry mouth become more vulnerable to cavities because of the critical role saliva plays in chewing, swallowing, and keeping the mouth clean.


If you take prescription medications and you want to minimize your risk of developing cavities, there are steps you can take to maintain both your oral health and your overall well-being.

How To Avoid Tooth Decay And Cavities Caused By Dry Mouth

  1. Talk to your doctor and dentist about your medication list. Everything from anti-depressants and high-blood pressure medicines to treatments for allergies and Parkinson’s disease can cause dry mouth. Your doctor may be able to switch you to a different medication or adjust your dosage to reduce the chance of dry mouth symptoms.
  2. Visit your dentist for frequent checkups. They can keep an eye on your oral health and provide preventive cleanings to avoid cavities.
  3. Use products that increase the flow of saliva. Your dentist may prescribe Salagen to increase the natural production of saliva or encourage you to use an over-the-counter artificial saliva product. You may also consider sucking on sugar-free candy or sugarless gum containing xylitol. (Be sure to keep products with xylitol away from your dog!)
  4. Brush your teeth after every meal with a fluoride toothpaste. This ensures your teeth are receiving extra daily protection from bacterial plaque, which causes cavities.
  5. Drink water frequently. Water can provide some of the benefits of saliva and is a necessity in our desert climate, especially in the summer. Take a supply of water with you everywhere you go.

“Dry mouth is responsible for about 30 percent of gum disease and tooth loss – problems which often start with tooth decay and cavities,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist practicing in central Phoenix and founder of Dr. Carol Ford & Associates. “Talk with us about how your medication regimen might be impacting your oral health.”







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