Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that is marked by sudden and recurrent seizures, loss of consciousness, and other symptoms that exhibit a problem with the electrical activity of the brain. Epilepsy is most commonly treated with medication to control the electrical activity of the brain and cut down the symptoms caused by the disorder. Special precautions for dental care should be taken if you have epilepsy.
How Medications Affect Oral Health
Seizure medications can affect your oral health. Many drugs that help control seizures also increase the risk of periodontal disease, tooth decay, and oral infections such as thrush. Dilantin is a common drug used to treat certain forms of epilepsy. Gingival overgrowth is considered a common side effect, this can cause the mouth to become very painful and swollen. It can even cause a change in how your teeth fit together when you bite down on something. This condition, if left untreated, can cause tooth decay or periodontal disease. Treatment can involve many things. Your dentist can show you a modified brushing technique that should help the gums begin to shrink. Surgical removal of excess tissue is an option as well. Depending on the severity of the overgrowth, antibiotics or antifungals may be prescribed. Do not stop your medication without first talking with your neurologist or your primary care doctor.
Some medications can cause mouth ulcers. The potential for open wounds to become infected is a little higher in those with epilepsy if they have a B12 deficiency. If you take phenytoin for epilepsy and develop mouth ulcers, contact your doctor right away.
Mouth lacerations are common dental problems with epilepsy patients. Certain types of seizures can cause a person to bite their tongue. If you have a laceration on your tongue or anywhere in your mouth, take extra care to follow good oral hygiene practices.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Good oral hygiene reduces the risk of infection. Since certain meds can cause the symptoms previously discussed and symptoms like dry mouth, the mouth is at a higher risk of infection. Brush your teeth and floss at least twice a day. If you can’t brush or floss, rinse your mouth out with water. This will reduce the amount of acid in your mouth. Book regular appointments with your dentist; see your dentist as needed for other dental problems including chipped teeth. Consume less sugar and fewer carbohydrates, certain foods and drinks are more prone to allowing the growth of bacteria in the mouth, which increases your risk of tooth decay.
If you have epilepsy, be sure to let your dentist know. Bring a list of the medications that you take for your condition. Tell your dentist if you are experiencing any symptoms such as swollen gums, bleeding gums, or dry mouth. Many times, your dentist will be able to help you form a treatment plan for these oral conditions. Things that we may feel aren’t a big deal (such as a dry mouth) can have long-term effects that can cause tooth loss. A simple change in your oral routine can save your teeth.
If you have questions about your oral health, contact Lakeway Cosmetic Dentistry today to schedule an appointment.