Can Medication Have an Effect on My Oral Health?
Yes, medications can have oral side effects — dry mouth being the most common. Be sure to tell your dentist about any medications that you're taking, even medicines that you purchase without a prescription.
These are the types of medications that will often produce dry mouth:
Other medications may cause abnormal bleeding when brushing or flossing, inflamed or ulcerated tissues, mouth burning, numbness or tingling, movement disorders and taste alteration. If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your dentist or physician.
Is There a Link Between Gum Disease and Diabetes?
If I Have Diabetes, Am I at Risk for Dental Problems?
Is There a Link Between Gum Disease and Heart Disease?
Am I at Risk if Dental Procedures Are Performed?
Be sure to tell your dentist if you have a heart condition, and what, if any, medications you are taking for it. Your dentist will record important health information in your record and coordinate treatment with your physician.
What Is Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth means you don't have enough saliva, or spit, to keep your mouth moist. Everyone has a dry mouth once in a while, especially if you're nervous, upset or under stress. But if you have a dry mouth all or most of the time, it can be uncomfortable and can lead to more serious health problems or indicate that a more serious medical condition may exist. That's because saliva does more than just keep the mouth wet-it helps digest food, protects teeth from decay, prevents infection by controlling bacteria in the mouth, and makes it possible for you to chew and swallow.
There are several reasons that the glands that produce saliva, called the salivary glands, might not function properly. These include:
How Do I Know if I Have Dry Mouth?
Everyone's mouth feels dry from time to time. It's when this feeling doesn't go away that you may have a problem with saliva production. Symptoms of dry mouth include:
How Is Dry Mouth Treated?
The only permanent way to cure dry mouth is to treat its cause. If your dry mouth is the result of medication, your doctor might change your prescription or your dosage. If your salivary glands are not working properly but still produce some saliva, your doctor might give you a medicine that helps the glands work better.
If the cause of your dry mouth cannot be eliminated, or until it can be, you can restore moisture to your mouth a number of different ways. Your dentist may recommend mouth moisturizers, such as a saliva substitute. Rinsing with mouthwashes specially formulated to help dry mouth may also bring relief. You can also:
What Is HIV/AIDS?
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS. This virus is passed from one person to another through blood-to-blood contact (blood transfusions, HIV-infected needles) and sexual contact. In addition, an infected pregnant woman can pass HIV to her baby during pregnancy or delivery, as well as through breast-feeding.
AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) occurs when the HIV infection has weakened one's immune system to the point that it has difficulty fighting off certain illnesses and infections. "Opportunistic" infections also occur, taking the opportunity a weakened immune system gives to cause illness.
How Do I Know if I Have HIV/AIDS?
Dental problems such as sore bleeding gums, herpes sores in the mouth, and fungal and candida (yeast) infections may be among the first signs of AIDS. However, you should not assume you are infected if you have any of these symptoms as these occur in the general population as well. The only way to determine whether you are infected is to be tested for HIV infection. Consult with your physician or other healthcare professional.
A positive HIV test result does not mean that you have AIDS. AIDS is a medical diagnosis made by a doctor based on specific criteria. You also cannot rely on symptoms to know whether or not you are infected with HIV. Many people who are infected with HIV do not have any symptoms at all for many years.
The following may be warning signs of infection with HIV:
How Do I Prevent HIV/AIDS?
HIV transmission can occur when blood, semen, vaginal fluid, or breast milk from an infected person enters your body. The best way to prevent HIV is to avoid activities that allow the virus to enter your body. For more information on HIV/AIDS prevention, consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.
Can I Get HIV at the Dentist's Office?
Due to the nature of dental treatment, many people fear that HIV may be transmitted during treatment. Universal precautions are recommended between each and every patient to prevent the transmission of HIV and other infectious diseases.
These precautions require dentists to wear gloves, facemasks and to sterilize all handpieces (drills) and other dental instruments for every patient, using specific sterilization procedures. Generally after each patient visit, gloves are discarded, hands are washed and a new pair of gloves is used for the next patient.
If you are anxious, spending a few minutes asking your dentist any questions you may have about health and safety precautions can put your mind at ease.
How Is HIV/AIDS Treated?
Today there are medical treatments that can slow down the rate at which HIV weakens the immune system. There are other treatments that can prevent or treat some of the illnesses associated with AIDS. As with other diseases, early detection offers more options for treatment.
What Oral Health Problems Are Associated with Eating Disorders?
Anorexia and bulimia can damage your teeth in several ways.
A bulimic individual engages in a cycle of binge eating and vomiting. The stomach acids in the vomit pass through the mouth and can erode tooth enamel, causing cavities, discoloration and tooth loss.
Since teeth appear worn and yellow, a dentist may be the first to notice signs of this eating disorder. Cosmetic dentistry can help correct deteriorated tooth enamel.
In anorexia, semi-starvation deprives the body of the nutrients it needs. Osteoporosis can develop, weakening the bones in the jaw that support teeth, leading to tooth loss.
In both diseases, it is critical to treat the underlying causes that lead to anorexia and bulimia as well as the dental complications resulting from them. While a dentist can correct the deteriorated tooth enamel, he or she cannot treat the actual eating disorder. Should you have an eating disorder - or think you might - talk to your physician.