10 Surprising Tamoxifen Dental Side Effects

10 Surprising Tamoxifen Dental Side Effects

It is vital to learn about medications like Tamoxifel, and most importantly, identify their side effects. If you are not familiar with the medication, I will give you all the relevant insights about it in this article.

Tamoxifen is a hormone therapy drug used to used to treat hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.

In simpler terms, this is the type of breast cancer that needs progesterone and  estrogen to grow.

It is also widely used by healthcare providers to help in the prevention of breast cancer in people above the age of 35 who are at high risk of developing the illness.

Like any other drug, tamoxifen has a couple of side effects but in this article we focus specifically on tamoxifen dental side effects.

It is difficult to ignore tamoxifen dental side effects which are quite common among users of the drug.


Do tamoxifen side effects start immediately?

Like most prescription drugs, most of tamoxifen’s side effects usually start early into the treatment.

Some side effects like flushing can start as soon as you take the first dose.

Can breast cancer treatment affect your teeth?

Sadly, yes.

People undergoing treatment for breast cancer are at a higher risk of developing oral complications as you will find out when we talk about tamoxifen dental side effects later.

Why do people stop tamoxifen?

Although tamoxifen is quite effective in managing breast cancer, many people stop it before finishing the entire treatment dose.

In most cases, they stop treatment because of the harsh side effects of this drug, such as the tamoxifen dental side effects that we will discuss shortly.

Tamoxifen benefits

It helps in the treatment of gynecomastia

For about 30 years now, bodybuilders have been using tamoxifen to treat gynecomastia, which comes about as a side effect of using too much testosterone.

Excess testosterone in the body can cause hormonal imbalance which can lead to the development of feminine features in men, like increased breast tissue.

Tamoxifen suppresses estrogen activity in the breast tissue to prevent the development of breasts.

It can help prevent acne

Tamoxifen is beneficial in preventing acne on both your body and face.

Being a hormonal therapy drug, it can help balance your hormones to prevent a breakout especially if you are prone to hormonal acne.

It can reduce bone loss

As we get older, our bones tend to lose mineral density and become weaker.

This process is known as osteoporosis and it puts you at risk of developing fractures when your bones become more brittle over time.

Taking tamoxifen has an effect of strengthening your bones to reduce the risk of bone loss through osteoporosis.

It can promote cardiovascular health in older women

If you are an older woman taking tamoxifen, you should be happy to know it can boost your heart health.

By keeping your cardiovascular system healthy, this drug can help prevent illnesses of the heart and its blood vessels.

Tamoxifen dental side effects

Here are some tamoxifen dental side effects that have been reported by regular users.

It can cause tooth loss

You risk losing a tooth or a couple of them when you take tamoxifen regularly.

Research shows that you can lose up to 12 teeth within a year of using tamoxifen as part of hormonal therapy for breast cancer.

If you feel particularly concerned about this side effect for whatever reason, let your doctor know before you begin tamoxifen therapy.

Your teeth may get a bit more sensitive

Tooth sensitivity is a painful and uncomfortable condition that occurs when your dentine (inner layer of the tooth) gets exposed.

It is characterized by sharp pain that intensifies when you drink cold or hot beverages.

There are several causes of tooth sensitivity: brushing too hard, cracked teeth, plaque buildup and using certain mouthwashes are just a few of them.

Aside from these causes, some medications like tamoxifen can also cause tooth sensitivity.

You may develop dental caries

Dental caries, commonly known as cavities, are permanently damaged areas on your teeth that develop into small holes.

It is caused by poor oral hygiene, having too much sugary foods and in some cases, certain medication.

Tamoxifen happens to be one of the drugs that can cause you to develop cavities on your teeth.

Before you start using it, have a chat with your dentist so you can figure out the best way to prevent your teeth from developing cavities.

This would be necessary especially if you are at risk of developing them.

It can cause the ‘burning mouth’ syndrome

The burning mouth syndrome is a chronic condition whose main symptom  is a burning sensation on the soft tissues in your mouth.

It typically occurs on the tongue, lips, cheeks and palate.

Breast cancer drugs like tamoxifen can cause you to develop this sensation in the soft tissues of your mouth.

It may decrease the flow of saliva in your mouth

Have you been wondering why your mouth feels drier since you started using tamoxifen?

Well, you probably have a good idea why by now.

This drug can cause a reduction in the production of saliva in your mouth, making it feel dry.

It may discolour your teeth

This is one of the fairly uncommon tamoxifen side effects that its regular users may experience.

Fortunately, most people claim that it is reversible with the right treatment from a dentist.

If your teeth are at risk of getting discoloured, make sure to see a dentist before and after you start using tamoxifen.

It may lead to osteonecrosis

This is a condition that causes the bone cells in your jaw bone to die so that part of the bone pokes into your gum.

Most patients undergoing tamoxifen therapy report receding gums that cause their jaw bones to show.

It is usually treated with oral rinses and antibiotics, but your dentist may prescribe whatever other treatment they deem fit.

It can make your gums bleed

Bleeding gums is a significant risk of using tamoxifen.

Breast cancer patients who use this drug report several instances of bleeding gums despite maintaining good oral hygiene.

You may develop mouth sores

Tamoxifen can cause pH changes in the lining of the mouth, hence making it easy for harmful bacteria to thrive.

Increased activity from harmful bacteria in turn makes it easy for you to develop mouths sores and other bacterial infections.

It can make your gum swell

Aside from causing bleeding in your gums, this drug can also cause your gums to swell.

Swollen gums are not only uncomfortable but also painful in some cases.


Tamoxifen dental side effects are not an alien phenomenon.

They are quite common and most people who use tamoxifen for a long time experience them.

If you plan to begin breast cancer therapy that involves this drug, then this article has provided you with the basic information you need about the drug.

Make sure to check all other side effects as well, even those that are not dental in nature.

[related_posts_by_tax posts_per_page="4"]