How Do Medications Affect Your Child’s Dental Health?
When your child is sick, your doctor may prescribe medication to relieve symptoms or eliminate a bacterial infection.
Information about possible side effects or interactions with other drugs will be available, but information about the potential effects of this drug on dental health may not be available. In this article, we’ll take a brief look at the most commonly prescribed medications for children and how they can affect your child’s dental health.
Antibiotics and Dental Health in Children
If your child has a bacterial or fungal infection, he may be feeling unwell and your doctor will likely prescribe an antibiotic. Among the most commonly prescribed pediatric drugs, antibiotics dominate the list. They can be very effective in ailments such as sore throat, pneumonia, and some sinus and ear infections.
Amoxicillin is very often prescribed for babies with ear infections. But research has found that antibiotics, especially amoxicillin, can affect tooth enamel. Children who took amoxicillin were more likely to have fluorosis, a condition in which teeth are exposed to excess fluoride. This can cause stains or pitting on the teeth. It also reveals that even if amoxicillin is used as an infant, this high fluoride level can cause developmental problems in permanent teeth.
Tetracycline is another antibiotic that can negatively affect a child’s teeth, but in this case, this is when the mother is pregnant. Taking the drug also poses a danger. In fact, it is recommended that children younger than 8 should not take it at all. If used in early childhood, it may cause staining of the teeth. If a mother takes it while pregnant, it can even cause permanent discoloration of the child’s teeth. Tetracycline can also pass through breast milk to the baby and may affect bone and tooth development.
For this reason, and because antibiotics remove bad bacteria as well as good bacteria in the body, it is recommended by both dentists and pediatricians that antibiotics be given to children carefully and only when necessary. As people learn about the potential dangers of antibiotics, their use declines.
Pediatric Drugs That May Cause Dry Mouth
Dry mouth can increase the risk of tooth decay and subsequent gum disease. Saliva helps wash away food particles and neutralize acids that can eat away at tooth enamel. Saliva also helps control bacteria in the mouth. Unfortunately, there are a few common medications that can cause dry mouth. This includes decongestants, antihistamines, and muscle relaxants.
There are various remedies for dry mouth. The first is to make sure your child is drinking plenty of water if he or she is taking a medication that causes it. Chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free hard candy is another way to combat dry mouth to get the most saliva flowing.
Sweetened Medicines and Dental Health
Everyone knows that sugar can cause tooth decay when left on the teeth. However, we usually think of sugar and soft drinks rather than medicine. However, many pediatric medications are sweetened with sugar. If your child needs to take a sweetened cough syrup or other type of medicine, or even mouth drops, be sure to rinse his mouth or brush his teeth after drinking it.
How to Minimize the Effects of Pediatric Medications on Dental Health?
Reading labels and searching for ingredients online is the first step an engaged parent can take to make sure their child’s dental health is not harmed by a medication. It may be possible to find a healthy alternative to a sugary drug. Keep the use of antibiotics to a minimum and raise your concerns to your doctor. For optimum oral health, keep the mouth moist. Good dental health habits (such as brushing and rinsing after using medication) can go a long way against bad effects.