While the foods and drinks you consume have a large effect on your overall oral health, there are so many other health factors to consider as well. Did you know that taking certain types of medication can weaken your gums and cause damage to your teeth? One such medication that causes issues with oral health is blood thinners. For many people, taking blood thinners solves serious medical troubles, but the potential side effects can harm your mouth. If you're taking blood thinners, it’s more important than ever for you to keep up with your regular dental visits and let your dentist know about any medications you’re taking. Below, Flintlock Dental will take a look at the ways blood thinners can impact oral health and what you can do to ensure that you stay on top of keeping your mouth healthy.
How Do Anti-Coagulants (Blood Thinners) Work?
Many common blood thinners that are either prescribed by a doctor or sold over-the-counter (such as certain aspirins) are used to help reduce the chance of a heart attack or stroke. They do this by preventing the formation of large blood clots that eventually work their way to critical areas, such as the brain and heart, and cause blockages. While these medications work great for clot prevention, they can lead to problems for future dental work. Blood clotting is an important step when your body needs to heal a wound. It slows the blood flow and lets the surrounding tissue repair itself. While on an anti-coagulant, your blood will not clot as fast as it would if you were not taking a blood thinner medication, which can cause serious bleeding and other complications during a medical procedure.
If you are only taking anti-coagulants for a short period of time and need dental work done, consult with your dentist to put off the procedure until you’re no longer on the blood thinners. However, if the medication is something you will need to continue to take for a long period of time, you will want your dentist and physician to work together to figure out the best solution for both your oral care and your overall health.
Going to the Dentist while taking Blood Thinners
You might feel hesitant to go in for appointment at the dentist while on blood thinners, but it’s still important to keep up with your oral health. The good news is that most common dental procedures can still be done while on this type of medication. It’s common for patients taking blood thinners to still be able to go in for their regularly scheduled cleanings, fillings, and restoration work without having any troubles arise due to the medication. There are even some more complex procedures that can be done while on blood thinners. Just keep in mind that you should always let your dentist know which medications you are currently taking, and it’s a good idea to consult with your doctor as well before getting any serious work done. If your dentist is well informed of your condition, they can take the proper steps to ensure your safety as you undergo your dental care and procedures.
Oral Health and Blood Thinners
While complications during large dental procedures is the biggest concern for your oral health when taking blood thinners, there are a few other side effects you might notice. Some include mild bruising and bleeding of the gums as you floss and brush your teeth. If you happen to bump your mouth while playing sports or by bumping into something by accident, you could see heavier bleeding than normal. By staying aware of your oral health as you take your blood thinners and keeping your dentist informed, you can make sure everything is as healthy as possible in your mouth.
As always, it’s important to take the time to go to your regularly scheduled cleanings and keep up with your oral health, even if you’re nervous about the effect of blood thinners. It’s especially important to stay on top of your checkups if you’re taking a medication that can have an effect on your mouth and gums. If you have any more questions about how your medications might affect your dental health, contact your dentist right away!