I’ve come to realize that ever since I’ve been on prednisone, that I have had some serious issues with my chompers ( that teeth for the rest of you out there ) and here is just another of those things that makes the use of prednisone a double edged sword.
While the dreaded prednisone keeps my condition in check, it also seems to have this one really terrible side effect…it slowly but surely seems to just eat away at our CALCIUM!
Before I get to my teeth issues let’s take a look at one of the main things that prednisone can cause…
the following is taken from About.com
If you have IBD, your doctor has probably prescribed steroids such as prednisone to decrease inflammation during an acute flare-up. The common side effects of steroids range from annoying to debilitating but they will go away when the dosage is tapered down and discontinued. However, many people who are prescribed steroids for an inflammatory condition are not aware of the potentially serious and permanent effects that can occur with high dosages and/or prolonged use. One of these conditions is steroid-induced osteoporosis. ”
Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bones, which causes them to lose their density and become more brittle and susceptible to fracture. It is largely thought of as a disease of post-menopausal women, which is true in part, but it could happen to men or women of any age who have risk factors. Risk factors include:
Age (over 65)
Caucasian or Asian descent
Certain medications (including steroids & thyroid hormones)
Inadequate calcium intake
Thin/small build (less than 70 kg or 154 lbs)
While steroids do decrease inflammation, they also decrease the formation of new bone, increase the breakdown of old bone, and decrease the absorption of calcium from food by the body. In the case of IBD, the development of osteoporosis may be compounded by the already low amount of calcium absorbed by the body.
Okay, I wanted to make sure that I hit upon Osteoporosis, as it is a major issue in and of itself and millions of women suffer with this condition, but if you also happen to take a steroid…namely prednisone then it is also an issue that is a concern for me also.
But just what is the deal with my teeth?
Well this is all about…you guessed it again…Calcium!
Our teeth’s ( well at this point maybe not mine ) enamel is basically 97%…wait for it…
let me shine a little bit more light on calcium…
” About 99 percent of the calcium in the human body is held in the bones and teeth. The remaining 1 percent of calcium circulates in the bloodstream, where it performs a variety of important functions. It helps to contract muscles and helps regulate the contractions of the heart. It plays a role in the transmission of nerve impulses and in blood clotting. Calcium is involved in the stimulation of contractions of the uterus during childbirth and in milk production. It also regulates the secretion of various hormones and aids in the functioning of various enzymes within the body. Since vitamin C is important for so many necessary bodily functions, taking a liquid multivitamin that is rich in vitamin C is advised. “
Okay, so maybe your starting to understand my issue…no…let me explain it in a formula..
Prednisone + Calcium Loss = tooth decay..or in other words my problem.
My teeth have been slowly but surely deteriorating for several years now..and to be fair ” Dental hygiene ” has never been one of my stronger suits, but trust me when I say that after better than two years of being on prednisone, I cannot ignore the effects of this excellent drug upon my calcium reserves…as I am aware that my teeth are just slowly but surely rotting away!
And of course the other issue here is that it actually costs ” CASH ” to get your teeth taken care of…and yes I know that this is what insurance is all about…and while I do have insurance…my wife’s insurance, your still responsible for the rest of the bill that the insurance did not cover.
And trust me this does not just apply to ” Dental Care “, as I am still..yes ” STILL ” paying for my hospital bill balance from last year’s hospital visit.
So what’s a person that takes prednisone on a regular basis to do…well, I try ( when I can remember ) to take a calcium supplement. Nothing fancy, just calcium at 600 mgs a pill and I take 1200 mgs when I can actually remember to take them.
So, it’s very important to remember that if your on something like prednisone that can cause issues with your calcium levels, you need to take a supplement that can help you maintain healthy calcium levels.