Drugs and Oral Health

An aspect of substance use that should not be overlooked is its negative impact on your mouth and teeth. Tobacco use, alcohol, and other drugs can increase the risk of gum disease, dry mouth, mouth and throat cancer, and tooth erosion. Whether recreational, street or prescription drugs, it is important to understand and be aware of the effect on your oral and overall health.

Click on “More Information” below to learn how drugs can affect your oral and overall health.

Tobacco Use

Overall, smoking affects your mouth in many ways. It causes stained teeth and bad breath. More importantly, smoking and smokeless tobacco increase your risk for oral/pharyngeal cancer and gum disease that can lead to tooth loss. It also causes slow healing from dental surgery.

Smoking is overall bad for your health. The only way to decrease your risk of these and other related tobacco-related health problems is to quit. If you need help with quitting, click here.

Prescription Drugs

Listed below are a few prescription drugs used to control medical conditions that have been most commonly known to cause dry mouth. A dry mouth leads to a higher risk of tooth decay. If you use of one these medications and/or experience dry mouth, talk to your doctor or dental provider.  Your dental provider or doctor might recommend products that stimulate flow of saliva.

  • Antihypertensive (Medications to treat High Blood Pressure)
  • Urinary Incontinence
  • Antipsychotic
  • Antidepressants
  • Antibiotics
  • Antihistamines
  • Pain medications

Listed below are prescription drugs that have been known to cause gum overgrowth. If you are taking any of these medications, make sure you are thorough with your daily plaque removal/ oral hygiene.

  • Oral Contraceptives
  • Antihypertensive
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Immunosuppressants