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Prescription Medications May Cause Oral Health Problems In Younger Adults

Dr Martin Abelar - June 28, 2021 - 0 comments

If you are a young adult or the guardian of a young adult, there’s an emerging study on the importance of full disclosure when it comes to your medical history you may want to pay attention to.

The study was conducted by the Indianapolis, Indiana-based Regenstrief and IU School of Dentistry Dental Informatics Program, and examined the oral health habits of young adults ranging in age from 18-34 years old. What the study revealed was that a surprising amount of young adults regularly take medication. In fact, more than half of all young adults in the study (53%) were found to be taking some sort of medication, while 12 percent of that 53% fell into the 18-24 age group. Twenty percent of young adults aged 25 to 34 were said to be taking at least one medication as well.

Most of these medications were reported to be antidepressants, while the second most common medications were opioids. Both medication types raised concern from researchers, as these could be oral health red flags.

For patients on antidepressants, it is important to maintain oral health because many of these medications can cause a side effect known as dry mouth. Dry mouth occurs when saliva production slows, so it is important for patients who experience dry mouth to stay hydrated with water throughout the day, and to rinse and brush with moisturizing mouthwashes and toothpastes. Both are available over the counter or via prescription from Dr. Abelar. If you feel as though you may be suffering from a dry mouth, speak to Dr. Abelar about your options.

Depression is a serious illness, where many people struggle to complete daily tasks including routine health and hygiene procedures such as oral health care, so if you do suffer from depression and struggle to care for yourself, speak to Dr. Abelar or a mental health professional about your oral health routine.

For patients taking opioids, these drugs can also cause dry mouth, but raise red flags for healthcare providers when prescribing medications such as pain medication for oral health procedures. This is why it is imperative to reveal which medications and at what doses you are taking to Dr. Abelar when undergoing treatment.  Though the dental field prescribes the least amount of opioids than any medical branch, we do not want to over prescribe this highly habit-forming type of medication if not necessary.

Remember, if you are a young person, or person of any age, it is important to disclose your medication history to your dentist so that we can make sure your mouth is protected against the dangers of dry mouth on your teeth and gums.

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