Home' Australian Pharmacist : December 2011 Contents Vol. 30 -- December #12, 2011
Continuing Professional Development
The articles in this series are independently researched and compiled by PSA commissioned authors and peer reviewed.
• Sensitivity to hot, cold or sweet
food or drinks
• Gums that are pulling away from
• Pus around teeth and gums
• A bad taste in the mouth
• Unexplained bad breath
• Changes in the feel of their teeth
A pharmacist's role in
To promote the benefits of good
oral hygiene pharmacists may
consider holding an oral health
promotion activity in the pharmacy.
This could coincide with National
Dental Health Week and World
Oral Health Day and provides the
perfect platform for pharmacies
to get involved and provide health
promotion activities to raise the
awareness of good oral hygiene. The
Australian Dental Association can be
accessed at: www.ada.org.au and
provides a number of resources that
would be of use in the promotion
of good oral hygiene. Dental
health week can be accessed at
is a useful website for information
regarding oral diseases, oral hygiene,
lifestyle risks, children's dental
issues including baby and infant
Further information can be found on
the PSA Self Care fact cards:
• Dry Mouth
• Oral Health
On further questioning you discover
that Colleen has no other health
conditions that might be implicated
in excessive wear to her teeth, for
example, reflux or bulimia. In fact,
she lives a very healthy lifestyle.
She exercises every day, monitors
her weight and eats a healthy
diet. She tells you that her oral
hygiene is pretty good and that she
brushes her teeth twice a day but
admits to flossing perhaps once or
twice a week. She takes no other
medications but does chew a couple
of vitamin C tablets every day to
keep the flu away.
The vitamin C that Colleen is taking
every day may be harmful to her
teeth and in particular her tooth
enamel. Vitamin C is acidic and
may cause the mouth to become a
much more acidic environment and
together with the sugar load in the
tablets this could be contributing
to her dental decay. Decaying teeth
may require dental fillings and
perhaps restorative work such as
crowns or even tooth extractions,
therefore, Colleen should be advised
to stop the Vitamin C and to consult
a Dentist for further treatment
Key learning points
• Many medications including
illicit, herbal and complementary
medications can cause tooth and
1. Which ONE of the following
may increase a person's risk of
a) Regular dental review.
b) Brushing teeth twice a day.
c) Dry mouth.
d) Flossing at least once a day.
2. Which of the following would
NOT be a common symptom of
a) Swollen gums.
b) Gums that pull away from teeth.
d) Bad breath.
3. Which ONE of the following
symptoms might a person with
Xerostomia present with?
b) Sticky feeling in mouth.
d) Excess salivation.
4. Gingivial hyperplasia can best
be described by which ONE of
a) Gum thickening.
b) Mouth ulceration.
c) Taste alteration.
d) Bad breath.
A score of 4 out of 5 attracts 1 CPD credit.
5. Referral is recommended for
a) persistent oral health problems.
b) swollen red gums.
c) unexplained bad breath.
d) all of the above.
• Good oral hygiene can prevent the
development of plaque and tartar
which if left untreated can lead to
gum disease and tooth decay.
• Pharmacists are in the ideal position
to play a more active role in the
promotion of good oral hygiene and
to identify those people who may
be at risk of developing tooth and
1. Ciancio SG. Medication's impact on oral health. JADA.
2. Better Health Channel. Teeth and drug use. [online].
2011 [accessed 5 Oct 2011]. At: www.betterhealth.vic.
3. Oral Hygiene. [online]. 2011 [accessed 5 Oct 2011].
4. Mayo clinic. Gingivitis. [online]. 2010 [accessed 5 Oct
2011] At: www.mayoclinic.com/print/gingivitis/
5. Australian Dental Association. Dental Caries. [online].
2002 [accessed 5 Oct 2011]. At: www.ada.org.au/faqs/
6. Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. Pharmacy Self
Care. Oral Health. Teeth and gum care. 2009.
7. Australian Dental Association. Drugs. [online]. 2011
[accessed 5 Oct 2011]. At: www.dentalhealthweek.
8. Abdollahi M, Rahimi R, Radfar M. Current opinion on
drug induced oral reactions: a comprehensive review.
J Contemp Dent Pract. 2008;9(3):1--15.
9. Olver IN. Xerostomia:a common adverse effect of drugs
and radiation. Aust Prescr. 2006;29:97--8.
10. Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. Pharmacy Self
Care. Dry Mouth. 2010.
11. Medline Plus. Gingivitis. [online]. 2010 [accessed
5 Oct 2011]. At: www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/
12. Rutter P, Newby D. Community Pharmacy: Symptoms,
diagnosis and treatment. Australia. Elsevier. 2008.
13. Mayo Clinic. Periodontitis. [online]. 2010 [accessed
5 Oct 2011]. At: www.mayoclinic.com/print/
14. Darby I. Drugs and gingival bleeding. Aust Prescr.
15. Medline Plus. Dry Mouth. [online]. 2011 [accessed
5 Oct 2011]. At: www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/
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