People who take multiple drugs for health conditions may be more likely to notice effects on saliva or taste, a study concludes.
The study involved 531 people who visited a cardiology clinic in Saudi Arabia. About 14% of them had at least one oral symptom, including:
- Dry mouth (8%)
- White or grey patches in the mouth (4%)
- Problems involving the sense of taste (2%)
For most people, these conditions were not bothersome.
Dry mouth was more common in women, and in people with diabetes.
No specific heart drug was linked with any of the three conditions in this study. But the researchers did find that people who took multiple drugs — including drugs for non-heart-related conditions — were more likely to have mouth-related symptoms.
Many drugs for heart conditions can have effects in the mouth. For example, some drugs for high blood pressure or congestive heart failure can cause dry mouth. Dentists call this condition xerostomia. Dry mouth can increase the risk of tooth decay. Experts recommend that people give their dentist a list of the drugs they are taking, and their doses.