Periodontal Disease: Drug-Related Causes And Treatment Options

Posted on: 5 November 2021

Periodontal disease is a severe type of gum disease that can cause inflammation and bleeding of your gum tissue, excessive redness, and destruction of the underlying bones that support your teeth. While periodontal disease is typically caused by poor oral hygiene practices, it can also develop as a result of certain health conditions, pregnancy, menopause, and certain drugs. Here are some drugs that can cause periodontal disease and what you can do about it. 

1. Drug-Related Causes

Most all drugs have side effects, however, not all of them heighten your risk for gum disease. Certain drugs, however, such as those used in the management of seizure disorders known as anticonvulsive drugs can cause an extreme form of periodontal disease known as gingival hyperplasia.

In addition to redness, inflammation, and bleeding of the gums, gingival hyperplasia also causes the gums to grow out of control over the teeth and the spaces between the teeth. If not treated quickly, gingival hyperplasia can cause gum infections, periodontal disease, dental decay, and tooth loss. 

Other drugs that can raise the risk for severe gum disease include over-the-counter antihistamines such as diphenhydramine, which are used to treat allergy symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes, and runny nose. Antihistamines can cause dry mouth, which is a risk factor for periodontal disease. When your salivary glands do not make enough saliva, bacteria can build up inside your oral cavity. When not washed away by saliva, the bacteria can lead to gingivitis and subsequent periodontitis.

2.  Treatment Options

If you take anticonvulsant medications, talk to your primary care physician about lowering the dosage. Gingival hyperplasia typically develops more frequently in those who take large doses of anticonvulsant medications as opposed to people who take smaller doses. Also, if your medications make your mouth dry, drink plenty of water during the day to help promote salivary flow to help wash away oral bacteria. If drinking water does not improve salivary flow, your dentist can prescribe a special oral rinse to help restore moisture inside your mouth, while promoting salivary flow.

If you develop any of the symptoms of periodontal disease, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. Treating periodontal disease in its early stages will help prevent its progression. In addition to regular checkups and professional cleanings, maintaining a regular regimen of brushing and flossing can help keep your mouth healthy despite the medications you take.