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How are medications used for oral health?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Practicing good oral hygiene in the form of brushing and flossing can treat most oral health issues. However, some serious oral health conditions do require treatment with prescription medications. Antibiotics may be needed to treat severe infections and abscesses. These can be given in oral form or inserted directly into the gums. A prescription mouthwash containing chlorhexidine may be used if oral surgical procedures leave you temporarily unable to brush or floss sufficiently.

The medications that are used for oral health conditions and diseases depends on the particular problem and its severity. For certain procedures such as filling a tooth, your dentist may recommend over-the-counter painkillers. For gum disease, especially the more severe form called periodontitis, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics, including pills and antibiotic mouth rinses.

For dry mouth, in which you don’t produce enough saliva, your dentist may prescribe a medication that increases your mouth’s production of saliva. Oral or mouth cancer may be treated with a combination of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy medications. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.