In the battle against oral health complications, a Sam’s Club Pharmacist can help provide relief for you and your family against a number of common complaints.

Day-to-day oral health can often be taken for granted, even with CDC reports that approximately 500 million dental visits are made by Americans each year. Millions of adults and children needlessly endure dental health complications that could be prevented through basic preventive care. As part of the solution, pharmacists are able to offer a number of available solutions.

Common complaints

Patients commonly consult their pharmacist about sore gums or canker sores. There are several over-the-counter products that will provide temporary relief. The main ingredient patients should look for in these products is benzocaine; children under the age of two should not use them. In addition, these products should not be used for more than one week, as the temporary relief they provide can mask a more serious issue that may be causing the mouth pain.

Another common oral complaint is a toothache. The products for toothaches may contain eugenol or clove oil and also benzocaine. The difference between these products and those designated for mouth sores is the products are not conclusively effective in treating or alleviating toothaches. Moreover, eugenol or clove oil can further irritate nerves and may worsen nerve damage. Patients with toothache should see a dentist immediately rather than attempting to get minor relief from over-the-counter products that may actually worsen the situation.

Pharmacy resources

Pharmacists can recommend specific products to help improve dental hygiene technique. Toothbrushes freshen the mouth while also disrupting the bacterial growth on teeth that becomes plaque. It’s important to select a toothbrush that has soft, synthetic bristles unless otherwise directed. At a minimum, toothpaste should contain fluoride, which strengthens enamel and interferes with growth of dental plaque. However, caution should be exercised when using fluoride toothpaste with children, as it can be toxic in excessive doses. Good oral hygiene at home is not a replacement for the recommended two dental cleaning visits each year.

Drug interactions

Patients should notify their dentist of any underlying cardiac conditions prior to their dental appointment. The dentist can prescribe an antibiotic to be taken before the dental visit to decrease risk of infection. It is important to list all medications being taken, including over-the-counter medications such as aspirin and herbal remedies. Also, patients should inform the doctor of any alcohol use. These issues are preventable by providing a complete medication history and filling all your prescriptions at  one pharmacy so the pharmacist can accurately catch any drug interactions.

Prescription or over-the-counter?

Used twice daily and for 30 seconds each, both prescription and over-the-counter mouthwashes can help with gingivitis. Even prescription mouthwash can be affordable, but it may also cause staining on the surface of the teeth, fillings or tongue if used for long periods of time. Over-the counter mouthwashes should not be used for more than two weeks if gingivitis, bleeding and swollen gums persist or if pus, lose teeth or increased spacing between teeth develop.

Would you like to share an experience you had at the Sam Club Pharmacy?Send us comments or feedback at hlms@samsclub.com, or write us at: Healthy Living Made Simple, 1703 Phyllis St., Suite 202, Bentonville, AR 72712.