It is extremely important that you tell your dentist the medications you are taking. We all hate filling our forms so the most common reaction when a patient is presented with a medical history update form is that they don’t want to complete it. “Didn’t I fill one of these out last time!” and “Nothing has changed so I don’t need to fill one out!” are typical responses. However, it is recommended by the Australian Dental Association to update your medical history and tell your dentist the medications you are taking at every visit.
Many patients think their medications have nothing to do with their teeth and gums so they don’t need to tell their dentist about them. Little do they realize that many medications for many medical conditions may have oral side effects. For example, medications for treating asthma, pain, allergies, depression and anxiety can reduce saliva and cause dry mouth. Saliva is needed for it’s antibacterial, acid buffering and tooth structure repairing properties and if your saliva is reduced by medications, you may be more prone to tooth decay, tooth wear and gum disease. Telling your dentist about your medications, will help us manage your risk of developing these problems.
It is even important to tell your dentist the medications you are taking even if you don’t think they are really medications. Just because they are not prescription medications, doesn’t mean they are not medications. Even supplements and vitamins not really thought of as medications may have medical effects. For example, fish oil capsules that many patients take for joint inflammation and heart health may thin the blood. This can lead to a difficulty in clotting and excessive bleeding when a tooth needs to be removed.
Please tell your dentist the medications you are taking, prescription as well as non-prescription, even if you don’t really think of them as medications. It is important for your health – oral health and general health!