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Medications that May Impact Oral Health

Not all medications are associated with oral health side effects. In addition, the drugs that can elicit side effects may be used in such a manner that either prevents or manages their occurrence.

Some examples of the medications that may cause a dental side effect include:


  • Certain antibiotics may cause tooth discoloration. For example, some baby boomers were affected by their mother’s use of tetracycline during pregnancy. Many of these children developed a grayish or yellow tooth discoloration as adults.


  • Certain antidepressants may increase the risk of dry mouth syndrome (xerostomia), teeth grinding, involuntary tongue movement, tooth sensitivity, worn and torn teeth, headaches, jaw pain, gum bleeding or sugar cravings.

Smoking Cessation

  • Some prescriptive smoking cessation medications may increase the risk of dry mouth syndrome.

Chemotherapy Medication

  • Chemotherapy medication may cause burning mouth syndrome, pain, sores, an enlarged tongue and dry lips.

Allergy Treatments

  • Certain allergy treatments may trigger dry mouth syndrome.

Appetite Suppressants

  • Certain appetite suppressants may cause dry mouth syndrome.

Pain Medication

  • Certain pain medications may cause dry mouth symptoms. If the symptoms are consistent and persistent, the condition may be labeled dry mouth syndrome.

Sleeping Aids

  • A number of sleep aids may contribute to dry mouth syndrome.

Anxiety Medications

  • Certain anxiety medications may increase the risk of dry mouth syndrome.


  • Certain diuretics may cause the development of white ulcerations or lines in the mouth.


  • Certain bisphosphonates (typically used to treat osteoporosis) may lead to osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), a degenerative condition resulting in jawbone death.