The study from Regenstrief Institute and the Indiana University School of Dentistry looked at dental records from 11,220 dental patients over the age of 18.
The results showed that 53 percent of all patients reported taking at least one medication; 12 percent of those age 18-24 were taking at least one medication; and 20 percent of those age 25-34 were taking at least one medication.
“Often dentists will assume individuals this age aren’t on medications, but these results underscore the importance of paying attention to medical histories of all patients, because medications can play a significant role in oral health”. said senior author Thankam Thyvalikakath, DMD, PhD, director of the Regenstrief and IU School of Dentistry Dental Informatics Program.
Most of younger adults taking antidepressants have dry mouth which increases the risk for tooth decay and tooth loss. Younger adults on opioids carry the risk of addiction.
The study also showed that older patients were more likely to be taking medications to treat chronic conditions like high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes and white patients across all age were more likely to be on a medication.
Developing an intervention to alert dental care providers about drugs and medical history gives a complete picture of a person’s health for better care and prevention.