25th August 18:05
Your meds can cause tooth decay (depression mirtazapine serotonin amitriptyline)
Happiness Shouldn't Cause Cavities
Your meds can cause tooth decay
by Ed Tate III
The drugs that gave you back your grin may be wreaking havoc with your
teeth. More than 170 million prescriptions for antidepressants are
Dry mouth may affect up to 20% of those taking selective serotonin
reuptake inhibitors such as Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft and up to 55% of
those taking older tricyclic antidepressants. Dry mouth can set the
stage for tooth decay, gum disease, oral infections, and other
"It's not just the reduced quantity of saliva; the quality is also
important," says researcher Joseph J. Keene Jr., DDS, of Southern
Illinois University's School of Dental Medicine. Changes in saliva can
mean that debris adheres to the teeth more readily, contributing to
possible dental problems.
The greatest risk for dry mouth is reported with older antidepressants
such as amitriptyline (Elavil), amoxapine (Asendin), and clomipramine
(Anafranil), as well as the newer drug mirtazapine (Remeron).
Antidepressants taken alone and especially with other medications
producing dry mouth may raise your risk of tooth decay if preventive
measures are not taken.
"Do not discontinue or change antidepressant therapy on your own,"
emphasizes Dr. Keene. "If dry mouth is severe, consult with your
physician for a possible drug-replacement therapy for depression." If
it's mild, you can prevent dental problems with some simple measures.
Dry Mouth Rx
# Thoroughly brush your teeth after every meal using fluoride
toothpaste. Floss daily.
# Use mouthwashes made for dry-mouth sufferers, and avoid those
containing alcohol, which is drying.
# Drink more water. Prevention recommends eight 8-oz glasses a day.
Most Americans get far less.
# Try using sugarless chewing gums and candies, particularly those
made to stimulate saliva production.
# See your dentist twice a year.