Dental Health Topics

Dental Side Effects Of The Drugs You Take

Have you ever noticed that some medications cause dry mouth or impair your sense of taste?

Medication of all sorts can produce oral side effects, ranging from cavities to bone loss, and number in the hundreds. In fact, there are 400 drugs that can cause dry mouth alone!

Let’s look at these interactions, learn more about which drugs trigger these outcomes, and see what you can do to prevent serious complications that could potentially arise due to being ill-informed.


While hardly an exhaustive list, below are some common drug types and their associated interactions. 

As always, inform your dentist of any medication you are taking prior to and during your visit.
Dry Mouth

  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants
  • High blood pressure medications (including diuretics, calcium channel blockers, and angiotensin- converting enzyme inhibitors)
  • Antidepressants
  • Sedatives
  • Pain medications
  • Parkinson's disease medications
  • Antacids

Taste Altering 

  • Cardiovascular drugs (some beta blockers and calcium channel blockers)
  • Central nervous system stimulants
  • Flagyl (metronidazole), an antibiotic drug
  • Nicotine skin patches for smoking cessation
  • Some respiratory inhalants

Abnormal Bleeding

  • Aspirin and anticoagulants

Soft Tissue Reactions

  • Blood pressure medications
  • Immunosuppressive agents
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Certain chemotherapy medications

Enlarged Gums: 

  • Anti-seizure medications (such as those for epilepsy)
  • Immunosuppressant drugs (typically used after organ transplantations)
  • Calcium channel blockers (for cardiovascular conditions)

Bone Loss

  • Corticosteroids, such as prednisone, and antiepileptic drugs, can lead to the loss of bone that supports your teeth.
  • Bisphosphonates, drugs used to treat osteoporosis, can sometimes cause a rare condition called osteonecrosis of the jawbone, which results in destruction of the jawbone.

Change in Tooth Color

  • Minocycline (which is used to treat acne) can cause an area of black pigmentation on your gums and a black or gray discoloration of your teeth.
  • Chlorhexidine, a mouth rinse used to treat gum disease, can also stain your teeth.

For a complete list see: “Medication Side Effects And Your Oral Health” Medically reviewed by Christine Wilmsen Craig, M.D
Interactions and complications from over the counter and prescription drugs can be serious, so being proactive in your knowledge about these concerns and always keeping your dentist informed will enable you to keep your mouth and body in tip-top shape.