All medication, whether taken by mouth or injected, come with a risk of side effects. In fact, hundreds of drugs cause mouth problems.

Both over-the-counter drugs and prescription treatments have side effects that affect oral health. Clinical studies show that more than 600 medications cause dry mouth alone. In fact, this is the most common side effect and amongst the most damaging to teeth. Because saliva protects our gums and teeth from infection, a lack of it increases the risk of gum disease.

Other common side effects are …

  • Altered taste
  • Dry mouth (xerostomia)
  • Oral thrush
  • Burning mouth
  • Tender gums
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth decay
  • Abnormal gum bleeding
  • Bone loss
  • Cavities
  • Enlarged gums
  • Mouth sores
  • Inflammation
  • Discoloration

Taking medicine

Studies also have proven the following medications as a cause of dry mouth and, in turn, tooth decay:






Or others

Weaken teeth and lead to gum disease and tooth decay. Not only do antacids cause dry mouth, but they’re often full of sugar. Chewable antacids get stuck between teeth and, after prolonged exposure, result in cavities.

Yet you should know there are sugar-free versions of antacids that aren’t as harsh on teeth.


Pain Medications

Pain and anti-inflammatory drugs also cause tooth decay as a result of dry mouth.

  • Excedrin
  • OxyContin
  • Tramadol
  • Other pain meds

Dentists recommend taking sips of water throughout the day to keep teeth and mouth moist. Also chewing sugarless gum, and practicing good dental hygiene to keep tooth decay at bay.


Antihistamines and Decongestants

Antihistamines block histamine receptors to prevent allergic reactions. And in the case of our mouth, these block the release of saliva, resulting in dry mouth. Decongestants are also used to treat allergies and the common cold. Cough syrups, in particular, offer another level of damage. These are acidic, which can lead to tooth erosion.

Luckily using fluoride toothpaste after taking cough syrup can help prevent this erosion.


High Blood Pressure Medication

  • Beta blockers
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Diuretics
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors
  • Prescribed to treat high blood pressure all these medications also cause dry mouth.
  • Lisinopril, on the other hand, has been shown to have fewer oral side effects.



Studies have observed an association between antidepressant use and dental implant failure. As well as bone metabolism loss which causes rampant tooth decay. Bad breath, gum disease, oral yeast infections, and other oral health concerns are also caused by antidepressants.

Combining antidepressants with blood pressure medication could cause dizziness during dental procedures. This is why it’s important to tell your dentist about every single medication your taking.



Corticosteroids treat a variety of conditions, including asthma, COPD, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. Long-term corticosteroid use has shown to cause dental pulp calcification.

Pulp diseases cause sudden, intense pain, mouth infections, and dental abscess. Also, it can cause hardening of the pulp tissue severe enough to need a root canal.


Preventative dental care.

Helps avoid tooth decay and costly dental treatments. In cases where medication can not be avoided, keeping our mouth hydrated and clean can prevent further damage.

Also, there are several drugs that may damage children’s teeth. These drugs include tetracycline’s, such as oxytetracycline, minocycline, and doxycycline.

Furthermore, tetracycline’s bind to calcium phosphate and allows the drug to be absorbed by the teeth. This damages the tooth’s dental enamel and causes brown/yellow discoloration. As well as pitting, and dental cavities.


Finally, for more information on the relation between medication and oral health? Contact us today and make an appointment with our specialized dentists who can advise you on the best ways of keeping good oral health.


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