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Rewinding the Years: Dental Care Tips for Older Adults


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Rewinding the Years: Dental Care Tips for Older Adults

Once my children were grown and on their own, I decided it was time to care of me. One of the first things I did was make an appointment with the dentist. I quickly discovered that years of not keeping up with my own dental care had taken a heavy toll on my teeth. Whereas I thought my teeth were just fine, the dentist pointed out several problems that were going to require a lot of work. When talking to friends, I found out that many of them were in the same boat. This blog is for people like me who just did not have time to keep up with their own dental care.

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3 Dietary Supplements That May Cause Post-Extraction Bleeding

Before undergoing tooth extractions, your dentist may ask you if you take aspirin or other blood-thinning medications. While it is routine to ask about your current medications, you may not be asked if you take certain dietary supplements. However, certain vitamins, minerals, and supplements can work in the same ways as anticoagulant medications do, and in some cases, lead to excessive or prolonged bleeding during and after a tooth extraction. Here are three dietary supplements that may raise your risk for post-procedural bleeding:

Fish Oil

Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may be beneficial to your circulation and cardiovascular system. While present in freshwater fish such as salmon, fish oil is often consumed through dietary supplements.

The anti-thrombolytic effects of fish oil are helpful to people who are at high risk for developing heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots because certain substances that it contains help thin the blood and prevent it from forming clots. Fish oil supplements, and to a lesser extent food sources of fish oil, can cause the blood to become too thin, losing its ability to effectively clot. This can be problematic for those undergoing tooth extractions because prolonged or profuse bleeding can occur.

If you take fish oil or omega-3 fatty acid supplements, tell your dentist prior to your surgical date. You may need to stop taking them a week or so before having your tooth extracted in order to reduce the risk for intra-operative and post-operative bleeding.

Garlic

Garlic is another dietary supplement that can inhibit the clotting effects of your blood platelets. This decrease in platelet aggregation can lead to abnormal bleeding during dental procedures.

While garlic supplements may pose more of a bleeding danger than fresh garlic, eating too much fresh garlic may also have similar blood-thinning properties. Inform your dental staff about your garlic consumption, because like fish oil, you may be advised to stop consuming it prior to your dental surgery. 

Vitamin E

Many people take vitamin E capsules because it can help the skin stay supple, improve the appearance of facial wrinkles, and improve heart health. However, vitamin E supplements, especially when taken with aspirin, ibuprofen, or prescription anticoagulant medications, can increase your risk for bleeding during dental extractions.

If you take vitamin E supplements and also take an aspirin a day to prevent a heart attack or stroke, do not stop taking your aspirin without checking with your physician. Discontinuing aspirin therapy abruptly may result in a dangerous blood clot or cardiac event. 

If you take any of the above dietary supplements, tell your dentist or oral surgeon well before your extraction appointment. It can sometimes take a week or more before the blood-thinning properties of these supplements is effectively out of your system. The more your dental staff knows about your medication and dietary supplement use, the less likely you are to experience adverse reactions after your procedure. For more information, contact a dentist at a location such as Renovo Endodontic Studio.