The Importance of Dental Care in Patients with Chronic Pain

The Importance of dental care in patients with chronic pain 2

When it comes to your oral health, you may or may not realize that your overall health can be impacted and vice versa. Even conditions like chronic back pain can be affected by or can affect your oral health. In fact, many people do not even realize that their chronic back pain can impact their oral health. To help you better manage both your oral health and chronic back pain, here are three main things that should know about this relationship between the two: 

Chronic back pain medications can affect your oral health. 

tablets spilling out of prescription bottle

One of the first things that you should be aware of is the fact that the medications you take to manage your chronic back pain can affect your oral health. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should stop taking them, but it does mean that you may have to take extra precautions to manage your oral health. Many medications used to treat chronic back pain can cause dry mouth as a side effect. Dry mouth is when your mouth is unable to produce enough saliva. As a result of decreased saliva production, you may experience changes in your ability to taste, speech and swallowing impairment, faster enamel erosion, and chronic inflammation inside the mouth. Since saliva is also necessary to keep your mouth clean and at the proper pH, dry mouth also increases the risk of both tooth decay and gum disease. For this reason, you should speak with your dentist on how to combat dry mouth. 

People with chronic back pain are more likely to suffer tooth loss. 

Another thing that you should consider is the fact that people with chronic back pain are at a higher risk of losing their teeth or requiring tooth extractions. This happens for a couple of reasons. One reason is that, as mentioned earlier, certain medications can cause dry mouth, which then affects your oral health in various ways. Dry mouth not only increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease, but it also increases the risk of these conditions becoming more serious. Another reason is that people with chronic back pain tend to avoid regular dental visits since they can cause more back pain. Unfortunately the increased risk of severe dental issues coupled with avoiding the dentist makes it more likely that the teeth will eventually be lost or extracted due to decay or gum disease. 

Dental problems can cause chronic back pain. 

Just as chronic back pain can affect your oral health, certain dental problems can also lead to chronic back pain. Dental problems like missing teeth, malocclusion, bruxism, crooked teeth, and overcrowding can all negatively affect the alignment of your upper and lower jaws. When the jaw is not properly aligned, it exerts excess strain on the joint itself and the various muscles around the joint. The facial muscles are connected to muscles in the neck, shoulder, and back. This means that when the facial muscles are strained, it can also lead to pain in the neck, shoulder, and back muscles. In some cases, your dentist may even be able to relieve chronic back pain by addressing dental problems that are causing the jaw to become misaligned. 

Dhaval Admar

Dr. Admar holds dual certificates — a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) in 2010 from India and a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) in 2014 from Canada. He is now a full time practicing dentist in Kamloops where he provides a variety of services, including emergency dentistry. Dr. Admar spends hundreds of hours in continued dental education to stay up to date in cosmetic and implant dentistry and he has achieved several advanced qualifications.

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