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Epilepsy and the side effects of medication

Over half a million people in the UK have epilepsy (1 in every 100). 

An epileptic seizure is caused by an interruption in the brains electrical signals, and can happen without warning.  Although most seizures last only a short time injuries to the mouth and teeth do happen. 

Research has shown that epileptic seizure is the most common medical incident in the dental surgery with stress often being the trigger for a seizure.  The link between epilepsy and oral health can often be overlooked. 

Here at Tavistock Drive Dental Care we ensure our staff receive regular in depth training in how to deal with medical emergencies.  Although it is useful for people diagnosed with epilepsy to be aware of some common side effects that can impact their general oral health as a result of anti epilepsy medications.

Some anti-epileptic medicines can cause side effects such as gingival hyperplasia or gum overgrowth as well as dry mouth.  Certain medications can cause inflamed gums that threaten to cover the whole tooth, causing bleeding and sensitivity. 

Other medicines may cause dry mouth (xerostomia).  Reduced saliva in the mouth may encourage the growth of bacteria, increasing the risk of tooth decay, gum disease and disease in the lining of the mouth.  

Anybody worried about a build up of plaque; bad breath or gum disease should seek the advice of their GP and Dentist if they wish to discuss a change of medication.

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