Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Medications and Impact on Oral Health

  • The nurse must be aware of the potential oral side effects of the medications that the client is taking.
  • Adverse drug reactions disclosed in drug monographs often include oral side effects.
  • The most common medication adverse effect is on the saliva, such as the subjective complaint of dry mouth (xerostomia) and the alteration of salivary flow (hyposalivation)
  • Other oral side effects include:
    •  abnormal homeostasis
    •  Soft tissue lesions
    • reactions
    • taste changes
    • altered host resistance
    • gingival enlargement
    • burning oral sensations
    • increased caries due to high sugar content in the medications
    • involuntary oral movements
    • alveolar bone alterations
Clinical Management
Oral Health: Nursing Assessment and Intervention
Point of Care Resources