Steroid Use: A Problem For Your Teeth And Gums

Steroid Use: A Problem For Your Teeth And Gums

While much of the focus has been on the systemic side effects and the ethical implications of using anabolic steroids, the impact of these substances on oral health is an area that demands attention. Read on for more on the repercussions of steroid abuse on teeth and gums.

Understanding Steroids

Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) are manufactured versions of testosterone, the male hormone, used medically for specific conditions but sometimes misused to bulk up muscles or improve athletic performance. When people use these steroids without medical supervision and for long periods, it’s considered steroid abuse. This misuse can lead to various health issues, including severe oral health problems.

The Impact on Oral Health

Here’s how excessive steroid use can affect your teeth and gums:

Gum Disease and Periodontitis

Using steroids can disrupt your body’s hormone balance, which might impact your gums. One common issue among steroid users is gingival overgrowth, where the gum tissue swells and grows excessively. This can cause spaces to form between your teeth and gums, creating perfect hiding spots for bacteria. If not addressed, this condition can progress to periodontitis, a serious gum infection that harms the soft tissue and even the bone that holds your teeth in place, possibly resulting in tooth loss.

Dry Mouth

Steroids can reduce saliva production, leading to a condition known as xerostomia or dry mouth. Saliva is crucial for neutralising acids produced by bacteria, washing away food particles, and preventing decay. A dry mouth environment is conducive to bacterial growth, increasing the risk of cavities and gum disease.

Candida Overgrowth

Steroids can suppress the immune system, making it easier for infections like oral candidiasis, a fungal infection caused by Candida albicans, to take hold. Symptoms include white patches inside the mouth, redness, and difficulty swallowing.


Steroid use has been linked to increased aggression and anxiety, which can manifest as bruxism – grinding or clenching of teeth, especially during sleep. This can lead to tooth wear, fractures, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

Preventive Measures and Treatment

Addressing the oral health issues arising from steroid use involves prevention and treatment strategies. Here are some steps individuals can take:

Seek Professional Help for Steroid Abuse

The first step in reducing the oral health risks associated with steroid abuse is to address the root cause. Seeking help from a healthcare professional for steroid dependency is crucial. They can safely guide discontinuing use and managing withdrawal symptoms.

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene

Individuals using steroids should be meticulous about their oral hygiene practices. This routine should include brushing your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and rinsing with an antimicrobial mouthwash to keep bacterial growth in check.

Regular Dental Check-ups

Frequent dental visits are essential for early detection and management of gum disease, cavities, and other oral health issues. Your dentist can also provide advice on managing gingival overgrowth and other steroid-related oral health problems.

Stay Hydrated

To tackle dry mouth, drink more water, chew on sugar-free gum to help produce more saliva, and avoid alcohol and caffeine, as they can make the dryness worse.

Manage Bruxism

If you’re experiencing bruxism, your dentist may recommend wearing a night guard to protect your teeth from grinding and clenching. Stress-reduction techniques and exercises may also help manage the underlying anxiety or aggression contributing to bruxism.


The allure of enhanced physical performance and appearance through the use of anabolic steroids can be tempting for many, but the potential oral health consequences are severe and far-reaching. From gum disease to dry mouth, candida infections, and bruxism, the impact of steroid abuse on oral health is a stark reminder of the interconnectedness of systemic health and oral health. By understanding these risks, prioritising oral hygiene, seeking professional help for steroid abuse, and maintaining regular dental check-ups, individuals can take proactive steps to safeguard their oral and overall health. Remember, pursuing fitness and well-being should never come at the expense of your health.

At Affinity Dental, we are dedicated to making dental care accessible and affordable for you and your family. When you choose one of our dental plans, you can access a vast network of over 2,000 skilled and professional dentists. Our benefits include mouth examination, scale and polish, intraoral radiographs, infection control, and more. Contact Affinity Dental for helpful advice on which dental plan best suits you and your family, and visit a network Dentist for more ways to maintain good oral hygiene.

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