Achieving Good Dental Health Can Be Easier than You Think

On Immunosuppressive Medications? 4 Tips For Better Dental Health

When you are taking immunosuppressive medications, the risk of simple infections turning into life-threating emergencies is a concern. There are ways you can reduce your chances of dental infections and injuries with a suppressed immune system.

Change Your Toothbrush More Often

In general, you should change your toothbrush every three months, but when you have additional concerns about infections, you should change your toothbrush more frequently. A damp toothbrush is the ideal environment for the growth of bacterial, mold and yeast. If you are currently treating any type of oral infection, make sure you have a clean toothbrush on-hand when the infection clears up. You do not want to reintroduce the infection.

Consider Less Abrasive Alternatives

You must consider how some immunosuppressive medications can directly affect your mouth. Some medications may increase your chances of developing mouth sores, irritation or bleeding gums. Any abrasion in your mouth is an opportunity for infection. The gentler you are with your dental care products, the less likely you are to cause unintentional injuries.

Switching to an electric or battery-operated toothbrush is often less abrasive. Choose a style that will stop rotating if you press too hard. This will prevent you from vigorously scrubbing your teeth. Oral irrigators are also less abrasive than dental floss, and can help you clean between your teeth if your gums are more sensitive and easily damaged.

Avoid harsh oral care ingredients that have a tendency to be drying or cause burning. Not only do these products exacerbate any problems with dry mouth, but they can ruin the harmonic balance of healthy bacteria and yeast in your mouth. Due to your current treatments, you are already more susceptible to thrush infections, and keeping your oral care products gentle can prevent upsetting your balance of normal flora.

Be Vigilant About Dental Work

It is never a good idea to put off dental work and this is more important when you are on immunosuppressive medications. A simple cavity or other dental concern can become a dental or systemic emergency much quicker. Not only do you have a higher infection risk, but some medications cause additional effects that can make your teeth prone to damage. For example, you may experience more problems with dry mouth or your teeth may be weaker due to vitamin deficiencies or the way your body processes certain vitamins and minerals.

Before immunosuppressive therapy, a simple cavity may have taken years to become noticeable. Now, that same cavity may cause your teeth to break quicker, or may easily reach the root and cause an abscess. Since many cavities can go unnoticed when they are minor, regular dental exams are more critical. If you notice you are having many new problems with your teeth that seem to escalate quickly, you may want to discuss with your dentist the benefits of having a thorough dental examination more than once per year.

Prepare Before All Appointments

If you are accustomed to making an appointment for a cleaning or other dental service without pre-planning, you may forget you should prepare for any dental appointment. Talk with your dentist before any appointment and ask if there are preparations you need to make. Depending on the type of dental procedure, you may need to stop your current medications for a while before the appointment.

Additionally, your dentist may want you to take a course of antibiotics before and after a dental procedure, if your risk of infection is especially high. Do not assume any dental procedure is too simple to warrant preparation, even routine cleanings. Also, be sure to tell your dentist about any changes in your medication, since this may affect any scheduled dental work.

When you are taking immunosuppressive medications, it is easy to forget there are extra precautions you need to take for your dental and overall health. Being vigilant about reducing your infection risk, talking to professionals at sites like, and preventing dental injuries can help you stay healthy.