How Medication Can Affect Your Mouth

Medications can affect your oral health, even if the drugs have nothing to do with your mouth. Learn common side effects of many medications and how our Tampa dentist can help.

Dry Mouth

Perhaps the most common side effect of medication is dry mouth, in which your mouth feels dry due to a lack of saliva. Saliva plays an important role in neutralizing acids and washing food particles away from the teeth, so they don’t stick. When your mouth is dry, you may wind up with food stuck to your teeth. Worse, the acids produced by plaque can cause tooth damage and increase your risk of tooth decay.

Fungal Infections

In addition to teeth, soft oral tissues such as the gums and tongue can be negatively affected by medications. Inhalers are a notorious example, as they can cause fungal infections in the mouth, including candida or thrush. These infections are unsightly and painful. One preventative tip is to rinse out your mouth after using the inhaler.

Cancer Treatments

Cancer patients should always speak with their dentist about their oral health while undergoing treatment. In some cases, a preventative routine can ward off negative side effects of the cancer medication and help you maintain good oral health. Some cancer treatments — notably those that include bone strengthening medication — can cause serious jaw problems. Other cancer medications may cause dry mouth, inflammation of the gums, or other gum issues.


Medications in syrup form — such as cough syrup — can promote tooth decay. When you think about the sweet, sticky nature of syrups, this makes perfect sense. Of course all that sticky, sugary stuff would cause damage to your teeth if left in contact. Whether you take medicated syrups regularly or turn to the occasional dose of cough syrup when affected with a seasonal cold, rinse your mouth and brush your teeth after consuming the syrup. These actions wash away the syrup residue, preserving your oral health.

Speak With Your Tampa Dentist

At Weninger Dentistry, we provide comprehensive oral hygiene care including treatment for conditions like dry mouth. Our Tampa dentists want to know what medications you are taking, so we can make sure your teeth, jaw, and gums are protected from any negative side effects of the medications, whether those are over the counter drugs or prescription products for a chronic health condition.

With any medication, we’ll speak with you about the potential side effects and discuss what to watch for, so you know if there’s a potential problem. We may be able to provide preventative treatments to lessen the impact of the medication, so you can take the drugs you need without worrying about the impact on your oral health. Since poor oral health is linked to diseases including diabetes and heart conditions, this is highly important.

Our team of dentists is always here for your needs, so contact us online or call today to reserve an appointment for dental care: 813-501-6864