Medications That Raise Periodontal Disease Risk

19 March 2020
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


Periodontal disease is one of the most common conditions seen in dentistry practices. While poor oral hygiene is often responsible for periodontal disease, other causes, such as certain preexisting diseases, family history, and smoking can also raise the risk. In addition to these, the following medications can raise your risk of periodontal disease. 


Diuretics are prescription drugs used in the treatment of high blood pressure, fluid retention, and ankle edema. They cause frequent urination, which can raise your risk for dehydration. Once you become dehydrated, you may experience dry mouth. Having enough saliva in your mouth helps wash away the harmful bacteria responsible for causing gingivitis and periodontal disease. If your mouth is perpetually dry, bacteria will build up, possibly leading to gingivitis.

If not treated by your dentist, gingivitis may progress to periodontal disease, which can destroy the structures that keep your teeth anchored in place. If you take diuretic medication, your dentist will advise you to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Your dentist may also recommend that you use a mouthwash that contains special lubricating enzymes to help wash away oral bacteria so that your risk for periodontal disease goes down.


If you have a seizure disorder, your doctor may have prescribed a medication known as phenytoin. In addition to sleepiness, dizziness, headaches, and gastrointestinal symptoms, phenytoin can also cause gingival hyperplasia, which is also known as gum overgrowth.

This condition refers to overgrown gum tissue that can cause your gums to grow over your teeth and in some cases, grow into the spaces between your teeth. This makes plaque removal difficult when brushing or flossing.

If plaque is not removed regularly, it will harden into calculus, which can trigger inflammation and periodontal disease. If you take phenytoin, your dentist will recommend more frequent examinations and cleanings. Antiseptic mouthwashes may also be recommended to help reduce oral bacteria. If you have severe gingival hyperplasia, your dentist may advise you to see a periodontist for further treatment.

Lowering the dosage of your anti-seizure medication may help slow the progression of gingival hyperplasia. If decreasing the dosage fails to improve your gum condition, your physician may simply discontinue the phenytoin and prescribe a different anti-seizure drug that may be less likely to cause hyperplasic gums.

If you take diuretic medication or phenytoin, be sure to see your dentist on a regular basis. With regular checkups and professional teeth cleanings, you will be less likely to develop periodontal disease.