pain meds cause tooth decay?

I just read that long term use of oxycontin (or tramadol or pretty much any pain med) leeches important minerals and causes tooth decay. Is that true? Does anyone here have any experience with that? I think I just read over 300 horror stories of teeth cracking, crumbling, dying, falling out, etc. If this is true, then forget it - I'm not going to get started on oxycontin and lose all my teeth! :(

17 Replies

  • My morphine makes me a little bit dry in my mouth so therefore I have to take extra good care of my teeth and also visit the dentist moore often, 4 times a year. I have always taken extra vitamines and minerals so I believe I am secured.

  • I heard of people who take narcotics and then clench their teeth together so

    hard that they break or crack teeth. My theory is that people take the pills and

    then get so tired that they go to bed without brushing their teeth, the mouth gets

    dry and they wonder why they lost their teeth.

  • Not everyone taking pain meds are "too tired" to brush their teeth. My dentist hates me, because I do not give him any business because all my teeth are fine. Anyone who may be overtired may fall into bed without brushing their teeth , and it would not only be people taking pain meds. All the RLS meds are sedating, dry your mouth out, so on the idea that a person taking pain meds are more tired than others is pretty general. :) I am sure you did not mean it that way, all sleep deprived people, meds or no meds, I bet have fallen into bed, forgetting the teeth once in a while. I can honestly say that my meds do not make me forget my teeth. ;)

  • I haven't had a cavity since I was ten years old, but (and I'm a little embarrassed to admit this) I hardly ever brush my teeth.

  • Try to avoid Oxycotin in any case. It is a pain killer that is habit forming and can have

    serious consequences in extended use cases. I take it myself only occasionally and not

    for RLS as I would not want to take it daily.

  • Can you elaborate on the serious consequences? I was taking tramadol before, but had to increase the dose and take it multiple times a day, so the doctor wants to use something that will last longer.

  • Tramadol is a synthetic opiate, so has way less issues than morphine would. It works the same way, but is totally different. It would not be the same thing at all. Having said that, I used to use Tramadol for pain and RLS, but later had to give up tramadol for Morphine for my crumbling back,. My teeth are not crumbling, but my back is. ;)

  • As I said in the previous post, I've never had a problem with my teeth before... but after I started taking tramadol, I noticed my tooth was hurting whenever I ate something hot or cold and it would spontaneously start bleeding. The dentist took x-rays and said everything looked fine, her only explanation was "teeth just die sometimes for no reason" and said there was nothing we could do about it. This was like two years ago now and I still have the tooth. I don't know how long it takes a tooth to "die", but I'm assuming I still have it because I stopped taking tramadol.

  • I have been taking morphine for 12 yrs, same dose, same doctor, etc. For severe, unrelenting RLS, this is sometimes the only class of meds that help us. At least in MY case. ;)

  • I think that's amazing that you've been on the same dose for so long. If I do end up taking the oxycontin, I hope I'm as lucky.

  • I had Acute Respritory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) 13 years ago. I was put into an induced coma for 8 weeks, during which I received massive amounts of steroids and morphine. That continued throughout the 4 week period immediately thereafter.

    In the next year all of my teeth required root camels and one tooth had to be removed. Oddly, this week I have to get another tooth removed because of the failure of one of the crowns I got back then.

    I think my tooth decay while in the coma resulted from three things interacting: (1) the massive amounts of pain medication [my ARDS wasso bad that the doctors in ICU told my wife to say her goodbyes to my lifeless body - they said this to her less than 2 hours after she had learned that she was pregnant!]; (2) the massive amounts of various types of steroids that were used; and (3) the way I kept biting the breathing tube while in the coma. By the way, after I left the hospital the doctors prescribed a couple of oxycodeine tablets twice a day; which was a joke given the amount of pain I was in. The controlled release Oxycodeine gave me migraines so they changed it to regular Oxycodone [little z

  • I'm so sorry to hear that. Is there more to this post?

  • Sorry, I amended my prior post.

  • That's awful. I don't see your update. I'm interested in this story.

    Was it from taking oxycontin and laying in bed to sleep?

  • That certainly does not happen to everyone. I take oxy and hydrocodone, and have for 11 yrs, and I do not have all my teeth falling out, not even close . I still have ALL my teeth at almost 58 yrs old. ;) That may be 300 bad stories, but there are other things that would contribute to their tooth decay besides pain meds. Any med that sedates you will dry out your mouth, and that CAN cause tooth decay, so keeping one's mouth "moisturized" is important. Just something simple like a dry mouth can cause all kinds of issues, but can be warded off.

  • If it's just "dry mouth" that affects teeth, I could brush more often and maybe that would help (I already bought that special "dry mouth" tooth paste and mouthwash)... but if pain meds really do leach minerals and that's what affects teeth, I don't see any way to prevent it (maybe a multi-vitamin?). I think, as with most things, some people are lucky and some aren't - I think my experience with tramadol has shown my teeth are more likely to be affected (while yours seem to be fine). I wonder what the decay is like. Do people lose one at a time? Or do they all go at once? I was thinking maybe I could try the meds and stop if I loose a tooth.

  • I have been on daily pain medications for at least 10 yrs now for RLS, hip displacement, sciatica nerve and low back pain. Yep, I'm a mess!!  What started with the typical vicodin to norco, tramadol, lyrica, kadian, and now to 60 mg MS Contin  3xday AND  2-3 15 mg every 4 hrs as needed.  The last 2 have been constant for I guess 3 yrs now.  I had always had gingivitis since I was a kid, however, I never really had it so bad that my teeth made me look like a crack addict.  Until now.  Last yr, at 56 yrs old, I suffered a near fatal massive heart attack (yes I had smoked for 47 yrs and endulged in alcohol on and off throughout the years).  After receiving a double bypass instead of the recommended four, I started noticing a big difference in my dental health, and not in a good way.  I thought that maybe some of the heavy duty drugs they gave me before and after the surgery, as well as the new maintenance drugs I began, had caused this change.  Maybe somewhere in all of them, it has added to the problem.  But now, 1 yr after the surgery, I am absolutely so embarrassed that I almost refuse to be seen by anyone.  The bottom front 2 are BARELY being held in the gum.  I CANNOT bite into ANYTHING directly in front, it has to be off to the side. Not only have most of the teeth rotted and are literally breaking off at the gumline, but the enamel has actually come off the surface of the teeth.  Think, a nice glossy finish on a wood table and then someone takes the worse sandpaper you can use and scuffs off the finish on half of it.  It is most noticeable and there is nothing you can do about it.  Well maybe, have an oral surgeon cut them all all and replace them with dentures.  Oh did I mention, I DO NOT HAVE DENTAL INSURANCE.  And if I start buying it now, and only getting the minor services it provides for the first incubation period, I might be able to have something done in 3 yrs, with a 40% share of cost after the first $250.00 deductible.  

     I am an unemployed disabled U.S. citizen born and raise, white female, 57 yrs old,  with Heart Disease, COPD, Hip Dysplacement, PTSD & Depression, living on a mere $1200.00 (still fighting for Social Security Disability). 

    Did you get all that? Does anyone know of any free services I can apply to, beg for? 

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