Medicines That Affect Teeth and Gums

Medicines That Affect Teeth and Gums

Information in this article was made available from a guide for parents and dental providers of children with special needs developed by the Oklahoma Dental Foundation in partnership with several funders. The entire guide is available for download at: Oral Health Care For Children With Special Health Care Needs.

The following is an excerpt from page 17 of the guide.

There are three primary ways that medications can affect the teeth and gums.

  • Xerostomia, or dry mouth syndrome, accelerates the rate that plaque and tarter build up on the teeth and increases the child’s chances of having periodontal disease and dental caries. This website lists many drugs that cause dry mouth. It includes their brand names, generic names and what they are most commonly prescribed for. www.laclede.com/learn/medlist.asp. They also offer products that help with dry mouth. http://www.laclede.com/
  • Increased dental caries and periodontal disease due to sugary liquid medicines. This is complicated by several conditions that make swallowing and/or clearing the mouth out properly after swallowing more difficult.

Strategies:
• Rinse the child’s mouth with water after giving medicines that contain sugar
• Brush frequently if the child takes sugary medicines several times each day
• Combine medicines with water in a cup to dilute the sugar
• Speak to a pharmacist about getting sugar free versions of medicines

  • Gingival Hyperplasia, commonly called gingival overgrowth, where the soft tissues of the gums grow out of control. Gingival overgrowth can be controlled, but not always prevented with good oral hygiene. Treatment includes, regular dental visits, cleanings, and in some cases surgical repair.

Partial List of Common Medications that cause Gingival Overgrowth

Anticonvulsants – Commonly prescribed to treat seizures
Brand Name
Celontin
Depakote
Dilantin
Epimid
Zarontin
Generic Name
methsuximide
valproic acid
phenytoin
phensuximide
ethosuximide
Immunosuppressants – Commonly used to prevent rejection of transplanted tissues and
psoriasis
Brand Name
Restasis
Generic Name
cyclosporine
Calcium Channel Blockers – Commonly used to treat high blood pressure
Brand Name
Calan
Procardia
Generic Name
verapamil
nifedipine
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