Can Your Medications Cause Tooth Decay?

tooth decay

When you visit us for teeth cleaning, we often remind you to brush and floss your teeth regularly. We may also remind you that your diet and how well you take care of your teeth determine how likely it is you will develop tooth decay, including cavities. But sometimes even the most diligent person may not be able to avoid tooth decay. This is especially possible if you take medications known to cause tooth decay. For more information, please continue reading, then contact one of our experienced general dentistry dentists located in Basking Ridge and Morristown, NJ today.

How do medications cause tooth decay?

Medications can cause tooth decay in various ways. The outer layer of your teeth, i.e. the enamel, has minerals that protect your teeth and keep them strong. The enamel can lose minerals and become damaged when it comes into contact with acid. Acid is created when bacteria in your mouth come into contact with sugars and starches from the food and drinks you consume. If your teeth encounter acid often, the enamel continues to lose its minerals. Over time, your teeth get progressively weaker and become damaged enough to form cavities.

Some medications create an environment that makes your mouth more acidic. One way this can happen is by causing dry mouth. When your mouth is dry, you have less saliva. Saliva has enzymes that break down starches in your mouth and helps return minerals to your tooth enamel. The more saliva you have, the less acidic your mouth is. Without an adequate amount of saliva, tooth decay can happen.

What are the signs of tooth decay?

As tooth decay worsens, you might notice the following:

  • Tooth pain
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Stained teeth
  • An infection in the mouth that can cause pain, swelling and fever

What medications cause tooth decay?

Various medications are known to cause tooth decay. In addition to buprenorphine, a medication used to treat opioid addiction, the following medications cause tooth decay through dry mouth:

  • Antihistamines, such as Benadryl
  • Decongestants, like pseudoephedrine
  • Opioid pain medications, like hydrocodone and acetaminophen
  • High blood pressure medications, like propranolol
  • Antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
  • Muscle relaxants, such as cyclobenzaprine
  • Parkinson’s disease medications, such as benztropine
  • Tetracycline antibiotics
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Inhaled corticosteroids
  • Chlorhexidine

Some medications are sweetened with sugar, which can also cause tooth decay. People who take these medications for a long time are at the greatest risk.

If you have any questions about these or other dental issues, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team today. We will do everything possible to prevent tooth decay.

Contact The Dental Associates of Basking Ridge

Please contact us today to schedule an appointment if you have any dental issues.

Watch Our Videos

Why are my teeth sensitive? | Basking Ridge NJ Dentist

Are there alternatives to flossing? | Basking Ridge NJ Dentist

How can I get my teeth whiter? | Basking Ridge NJ Dentist

What are the causes of bad breath? | Basking Ridge NJ Dentist

How do I prevent cavities? | Basking Ridge NJ Dentist

How often should I get a dental checkup? | Basking Ridge NJ Dentist