3 Drugs That Can Contribute To Gingivitis

Posted on: 29 June 2015

A type of gum disease known as gingivitis can lead to inflammation and bleeding gum tissue, and if not treated, may lead to tooth loss. While inadequate dental hygiene and certain systemic illnesses can cause problems with your gums, both prescription and over-the-counter medications may also lead to gingivitis.

Beta Blockers

Prescription medications known as beta blockers are used in treating high blood pressure, chest pain, cardiac arrhythmia, and anxiety. While side effects commonly associated with these drugs include fatigue, exercise intolerance, dizziness, and gastrointestinal problems, gingivitis may also occur. Beta blockers cause a dry mouth because they impair salivary flow. When you cannot produce adequate amounts of saliva to wash away oral bacteria, it can accumulate underneath your gums, leading to infection and gingivitis.

If you take these medications, drink plenty of water throughout the day to help keep your mouth hydrated. If staying hydrated fails to improve your dry mouth, talk to your dentist about recommending a special mouthwash that contains moisturizing enzymes, which will help maintain the health of your gums. Never stop taking your beta blocker simply because they cause oral dryness. Doing so has the potential to cause a dangerous spike in blood pressure or problems with your heart rate.


Antihistamines are drugs used to manage allergies and are available both by prescription and over-the-counter. Like beta blockers, antihistamines can cause drowsiness, dizziness, and diminished salivary flow. When taking your allergy medications, maintain a schedule of good oral hygiene, stay well-hydrated, and if necessary, chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless candies to further help wash away oral bacteria.

Anti-Seizure Medications

People suffering from epilepsy often take anti-seizure medications to decrease the frequency and severity of seizures. These prescription drugs can lead to gingival hyperplasia, which refers to an abnormal overgrowth of gum tissue. This condition can become so severe that your gums grow over and in-between your teeth, causing plaque and germs to accumulate.

If you take anti-seizure medications and notice that your gums are swollen, red, and bleeding, talk to your physician about reducing your dosage. If  your gingival hyperplasia becomes severe, your dentist may refer you to a periodontist, a dentist specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease.

Call your dentist if you notice any changes in your gums or if your teeth begin to loosen. Recognizing and treating gum disease in its earliest stages can help prevent infection and tooth loss.