Beta Blockers And Your Oral Health

If you have high blood pressure, your doctor may have prescribed you with beta blocker medications to manage it. Beta blockers such as propranolol are also used to treat migraine headaches, abnormal heart rhythms, and anxiety. Side effects of beta blockers can include fatigue, low blood pressure, exercise intolerance, and a slow heart rate. They can also cause side effects inside your mouth. Here are some ways beta blockers can affect your mouth and what you can do about them.

Dry Mouth

Beta blockers can cause xerostomia, or dry mouth. When your mouth dries out, infection-causing bacteria builds up, raising the risk for gum disease. Dry mouth-related infections occur when not enough saliva is produced to wash away oral bacteria.

If you develop xerostomia because of your beta blockers, drink plenty of water to rehydrate your mouth and avoid caffeinated beverages because they can further dry out your oral cavity. If drinking plenty of water fails to relieve your dry mouth, your physician may lower the dosage of your beta blocker.

If this doesn't help, the medication may be discontinued and replaced with a different one that is less likely to cause oral side effects such as xerostomia. In addition, your dentist can recommend a special mouthwash to help restore moisture to your oral tissues. Do not use an alcohol-based mouthwash because this will further dry out your mouth. Chewing sugarless gum can also help stimulate salivary flow when your mouth is dry, as can sour foods such as lemons and sour dill pickles.

Bleeding Gums

Propranolol and other beta blockers may affect the way your blood platelets clot. Like aspirin, beta blockers can decrease platelet aggregation. When this occurs, your blood will take longer to clot and may lead to abnormal bleeding when you cut yourself. It may also raise your risk for nosebleeds, excessive bruising, bleeding upon urination, and bleeding gums.

If you take beta blockers, tell your dentist before he begins your examination or cleaning. Your gums may bleed profusely when probed with dental instruments, and because of this, your dentist will take extra care when scraping calculus off your teeth and around your gum line. In addition to bleeding gums, beta blockers may also raise your risk for heavy bleeding during and after dental procedures. 

If you take beta blockers and develop a dry mouth, tell both your physician and dentist. Working with both of these healthcare professionals will help ensure that your teeth and gums remain healthy. Contact a company like Mundo Dentistry in order to learn more today.