Many adult dental patients taking medications that can affect oral health: Study

A new study conducted by the Regenstrief Institute and the Indiana University School of Dentistry in Indianapolis highlights the medication history of adult dental patients, emphasizing the importance of dentists reviewing medication histories for all patients.

Researchers examined the dental records of 11,220 adult dental patients. Of that number, 53 percent reported taking at least one medication. Twelve percent of patients ages 18-24 were taking medication, as well as 20 percent of those ages 25-34.

An author of the study said the number was surprising to researchers and that many dentists would assume patients within these age groups were not taking medication, noting the importance of dentists knowing their patients' medical history due to how medications can affect oral health.

Data in the study shows that white patients were more likely to be taking medication. Younger adults were more likely to be taking opioids and antidepressants, which can cause dry mouth. Older patients were more likely to be taking medications to treat chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes.

By being aware of their patients' medication history, dentists can identify medications that can lead to dental conditions such as tooth decay and tooth loss, and can ensure they don't over-prescribe medications.

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