If you have high blood pressure, your physician may have recommended that you take medications known as diuretics. Also referred to as "water pills." diuretics can lead to significant side effects. Some of these side effects can affect your oral cavity, and may even cause problems with your dental implants. Here are some ways diuretics can affect your mouth and what you can do about them:
Because diuretic medication promotes frequent urination, you may become dehydrated. Not only can dehydration cause dry and itchy skin, irritated eyes, and constipation, it can also lead to dry mouth. When your mouth becomes too dry as a result of diuretics or otherwise, you may be at risk for oral infections.
Saliva helps wash away bacteria in your mouth, and when your mouth is too dry, infection-causing bacteria may multiply inside your oral cavity. This can raise your risk for a severe form of gum disease known as periodontitis. In certain cases, periodontitis can destroy gum tissue as well as underlying bone, including the bones that support your dental implants. This may cause your implants to loosen and shift, and while periodontitis can be treated, your dentist may need to remove your dental implants until your mouth has completely healed.
Calcium Absorption Problems
Diuretics may also change the way in which calcium is absorbed. This may have a negative effect on your bones, which may lead to the deterioration and weakness of the bones inside your mouth. If your physician determines that your diuretics are causing bone problems, he or she may prescribe a different medication that is less likely to interfere with calcium absorption. In the meantime, your dentist will closely monitor the condition of your implants and surrounding bones to make sure they are healthy.
If your dental examination reveals bone problems, you may be referred to a maxillofacial specialist or oral surgeon for further evaluation and treatment. Bone problems related to diuretic use are rare, and typically only occur after prolonged use of the medication; however, they can develop, so it is important that you keep your dental appointments so that your oral status can be frequently monitored.
If you have dental implants and take diuretics to control your blood pressure, work with both your physician and dentist. When you work with both of these healthcare disciplines, medication-related problems may be less likely to affect your oral status and dental implants.