Individuals taking antidepressants can experience serious dental side effects. Recently, researchers evaluated the records of more than 1800 dental patients to determine the kinds of dental problems dentists might encounter. The results showed the following:
? >50% of the patients were taking 2 or more drugs that can cause dry mouth. Untreated dry mouth can lead to rampant tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, and other oral problems. To prevent dry mouth, patients need to practice more diligent home dental care, drink plenty of water, use prescription fluoride toothpaste with 5000 ppm fluoride, and schedule more frequent dental appointments.
? Two thirds of the patients were taking tricyclic and other anti-depressants that lower blood pressure, which can have dangerous interactions with dental anesthesia drugs that numb the gums. Patients with low blood pressure are more prone to getting dizzy and falling down after prolonged dental work. For these patients, dentists recommend shorter dental visits, having the patient sit more upright in the dental chair, and monitoring blood pressure.
Therefore, dental patients taking any medication should tell their dentist before dental treatment. Also, people taking antide-pressants may need a stricter dental program, which would include more frequent brushing and flossing.