Side effects of antidepressants on teeth and gums

Side effects of antidepressants and sedatives on teeth and gums

by Dr. Nadia Abazarnia

The side effects of psychotropic drugs may cause dental problems.

You may be prescribed psychotropic drugs either for a mental illness or to manage severe anxiety associated with dental procedures. When these drugs are used they can cause problems such as dry mouth, bruxism, surgical bleeding, hyper salivation which need preventive dental care.

Dry mouth or Xerostomia

Most antidepressants can cause dry mouth. Dental management of a patient with dry mouth requires:

  • Increased dental recalls for oral hygiene instructions, fluoride application and early intervention.
  • Use of artificial saliva products.
  • Drinking water or any type of sugarless drink throughout the day.
  • Cutting down on caffeinated beverages, alcohol, and tobacco because they contribute to a dry mouth.
  • Sugarless candy or gum can promote saliva production.
  • Salty and spicy foods can cause pain to an already dry mouth.
  • Use a humidifier at night.

Grinding of the teeth or Bruxism

It is occasionally seen with antipsychotics, antidepressants. Bruxism involves grinding of the teeth, and leads to excessive dental attrition. The complications can be reduced by the use of an occlusal splint.

Surgical bleeding

Antidepressants and some anticonvulsant drugs, can impairs platelet aggregation which can potentiate surgical bleeding and this may occur in dental patients.

Drug-induced excess salivation Excess saliva may compromise dental materials during dental treatment and create a difficult working environment for the dentist and pose a risk of aspiration. Anticholinergic drugs can be used for patients suffering hyper salivation, before dental work, in addition to standard measures for maintaining a dry field.

Enlarging Gums Also known as Gingival Overgrowth, the Enlarging Gums are caused by the Immunosuppressant Drugs, Calcium Channel Blockers, and Anti-seizure Medications etc.

Preventing side effects of medications

It is not advisable to stop the medications for the fear of the side effects affecting the oral health adversely. What is required is that you let your dentist know that you are taking these medications. Also, you should inform your doctor or physician if you are experiencing any side effects.

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Oral Care For Kids Should Start Early

Oral Care For Kids

Oral Care For Kids

Good oral care for kids should start early with training in the common oral hygiene practices that need to be completed on a daily basis.  Brushing the teeth should occur at least twice daily and it would be in the best interest of the child if the habit of brushing after every meal is instilled at an early age.  A good fluoride toothpaste should be used in conjunction with a soft bristled brush to avoid damaging or irritating the gum tissue.  A proper amount of toothpaste should be placed on the brush and all areas of the mouth including the tongue and the roof should be brushed for a minimum of two minutes.  Some parents it find it helpful to obtain a small timer to make it easier to keep track.  Some modern electronic toothbrushes have a timer built right in that flashes until it is time to stop.


Flossing is most likely going to be the area of kids’ oral care that will be the most difficult to get them to do on a regular basis.  If you can only get your child to floss once a day then include it with the bedtime brushing, however, flossing twice a day is much better.  Many new types of dental floss are available that slide between teeth much easier and you may want to try a different type until you find one that your child will use on a regular basis.  Flossing should begin as soon as a child has two teeth that are touching each other and will need to be done for them until they are old enough to handle the task on their own.  Flossing must be done carefully, firmly enough to remove all food particles but not so firmly as to cause bleeding.


After brushing and flossing, a child’s oral care routine should be finished off with an oral rinse.  You should avoid allowing your child to use your mouthwash if it is one that is primarily composed of alcohol.  There are products made especially for children that contain fluoride to help strengthen their teeth, just be careful to monitor the use of these products to ensure that they are not swallowed as fluoride can be poisonous in large doses.  Besides strengthening the teeth with fluoride, the oral rinse will help wash away all of the food particles and bacteria that were knocked loose by brushing and flossing.  This bacteria is what cause plaque and cavities.


Kids’ oral care begins at home with the parents but this does not mean that they should be avoiding trips to see the dentist.  It is important to have regular dental check ups for children so that any potential problems with their teeth can be spotted early and prevented from becoming bigger issues later.  Your family dentist will also be able to advise you on the correct oral care program that your children should be following at home.  Keeping teeth and gums healthy is a lot easier than having to have problems fixed later on so it pays to be vigilant in teaching kids proper oral care.

Q&A: I want to be a dentist? Im a Junior in highschool and need help choosing classes to help me?

Question by Bumblee Bee: I want to be a dentist? Im a Junior in highschool and need help choosing classes to help me?
I really dont understand anything about Dentistry. I keep my teeth in “shape” but i need all the info i can get!

Best answer:

Answer by ashley b
i think the best would be a nurse class or student aid in the nurses office.

Give your answer to this question below!