Family and Cosmetic Dentist - Livonia
31574 Schoolcraft Road
Livonia, MI 48150
Antidepressants are prescribed to help put a smile back on your face, but they may actually have the opposite effect - by aiding in the decay of your teeth, and therefore your smile.
One of the common side effects of antidepressants such as Prozac®, Paxil®, Elavil®, Wellbutrin®, Zoloft®, Remeron® and others is dry mouth, which can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, oral infections and other dental problems. In addition to antidepressants, most antihistamines, allergy medications and hundreds of other drugs can reduce saliva production, which leaves you susceptible to cavities, excess plaque, fungal infections in the mouth and bad breath. Your dry mouth problem (or "xerostomia" as it's professionally known) can be amplified if you're taking antidepressants in conjunction with one of the other common medications that list dry mouth as a possible side effect.
Signs of dry mouth include:
Most of us take saliva for granted, but it is actually an important natural defense system in the mouth. It protects the teeth by washing away sugars and not allowing bacteria to stick on the teeth long enough to promote the development of cavities. Saliva also lubricates the oral canal, aids in the flow of bacteria and food down the throat, and through its enzymes, helps to start the digestive process, too.
While it's important to recognize the effects of dry mouth resulting from your medications, it's imperative that you do not discontinue or change your antidepressant or other medications without professional advice.
Some tips to help prevent dental decay stemming from dry mouth include:
If you're realizing that a lack of saliva is interfering with your enjoyment of food and the health of your teeth, make sure that you talk to us and to your doctor. You may not have to suffer with the inconvenience of dry mouth - your doctor may adjust the dosage of your medication or switch you to an alternate prescription, while we will keep an eye on your dental health and comfort.
Please keep us aware of the medications you are on, and make sure that you come in for a dental examination and cleaning at least every six months.