When you take any medications, or are given a new prescription by your physician, you may not realize that some of the side effects can affect your oral health. To help you keep your teeth, gums and mouth in great shape despite the medications you take, stay aware of the following common medication symptoms and ways to compensate.

Dry Mouth

One of the biggest complaints among patients is dry mouth linked to medicines. Dry mouth is not just an annoyance. It is also a serious problem. Your saliva helps wash bacteria off the teeth and gums. When you cannot produce saliva naturally, you run the risk of tooth decay and even the development of gum disease.

Many products are available to combat dry mouth, and your periodontist can give you excellent advice on which are best-suited for your situation. Be sure to carry a water bottle with you at all times, too. Plus, you may want to suck on sugar-free lozenges or chew sugarless gum to promote saliva production.


Some medicines, including aspirin and blood thinners, make your soft tissues more sensitive to any type of touch. When taking them, you may find that your gums bleed every time you brush or floss.

If you experience this type of issue, be sure to tell your periodontist. The answer could be a special type of toothbrush for sensitive teeth and gums, mouth rinses and waxed dental floss.

Odd Tastes

Another unexpected outcome of taking over-the-counter or prescription pharmaceuticals is a “funny” taste in the mouth. You may taste metal or just feel like you have a sour taste. This unpleasant side effect can be tempered by sucking on sugar-free candies.

Gum Reactions

Finally, you may notice that your gums swell, start to grow bigger or become discolored after starting a particular medicine, such as chemotherapy drugs or oral contraceptives. In these cases, proper oral hygiene is essential, as are regular visits to your periodontist in Pittsburgh, PA.

Remember to ask all your doctors about common side effects whenever you begin a medication regimen, and be sure to keep your dental providers in-the-know.