Medications that Threaten Oral Health: Philadelphia Dentist Fills Us In

Since November is National Osteoporosis Month, articles have been appearing in dental circles about the dangers of taking a drug often prescribed for treatment. Bisphosphonate medication can cause an oral health condition called BRONJ, an osteonecrosis of the jawbone that causes destruction of the jaw. Reading about this serious oral health issue caused by medication brings to mind a question: What other medications can lead to oral health problems? Philadelphia dentist, Dr. Thomas DeFinnis, describes some medications for commonly known conditions and their threat to oral health.

Dry mouth

If you have woken up in the middle of the night and felt that your mouth was so dry that no amount of water could have made it feel wet, that is dry mouth. For some, dry mouth is chronic. The feeling is uncomfortable and can make it difficult to talk and to swallow. The list of medications that can cause dry mouth include antihistamines, drugs for Parkinson’s disease, decongestants, pain medication, antidepressants, and high blood pressure medications. To combat dry mouth, drink water or sugarless drinks. Chewing gum can help. Try one of the dry mouth products on the market, or change medications if possible.


A fungal infection, thrush, can be caused by antibiotics, chemotherapy or steroids. White lesions appear on the mouth and tongue with thrush. Ask your doctor for antifungal medications to alleviate symptoms.

Gum enlargement

Calcium channel blockers, immunosuppressant drugs, and antiseizure medication may cause your gums to enlarge. Ask your dentist for specific recommendations on dental care and on solving the gum enlargement issue.

Reactions of the Soft Mouth Tissue

Certain drugs can lead to inflammation and discoloration of the soft tissue in your mouth. You may also develop mouth sores from blood pressure medication, oral contraceptives, chemotherapy medication, and immunosuppressive agents. Inform your dentist if you take these medications for specific dental care recommendations.

Dental Cavities

Various liquid and chewable medications contain sugar. You will find these most often in cough, cold, and allergy medications, especially those for children. Frequent or prolonged use of the medications can contribute to cavity formation. Always rinse your mouth with water after taking sugar-containing medication and remember to brush, floss and seek dental care regularly. Advise children in the same way.

 Your Oral Health Care

Dr. DeFinnis provides preventive and restorative dental care for patients. Conat our 19096 dentist office area including Wynnewood, Havertown, Ardmore, and Penny Wynne. Call us at (610) 228-4452 for your comprehensive dental care needs. We welcome new and returning patients.

Dental Health, Patient Education