Dental Considerations with Narcolepsy: Guest Post by Heather Dudeck

Heather DudeckMy name is Heather Dudeck, PWN Supporter of my husband Mitch and registered Dental Hygienist in Indiana. I’ve been in the dental field for nearly seven years; three as a dental hygienist and the first four as a dental assistant. I was asked quite a few questions about oral health at the Denver Narcolepsy Network conference in October and talked with a few attendees about writing a follow-up with more information about oral health for PWN.

Note from my husband: “There are plenty of difficult things that PWNs have to face daily, so why should you waste time reading about taking care of your teeth? Time, Money, and additional health problems is the answer. It doesn’t require much effort to properly take care of your teeth. Dental problems require dental visits and dental procedures, both of which cost money and require more of your already limited time. And my favorite reason: I have enough health related crap to deal with, I don’t need anymore!”

Taking liquid oral medications and/or having an acid-rich diet could put your teeth in jeopardy from acid erosion over time by stripping away tooth enamel. i.e Xyrem (which is an oral solution that contains the active ingredient SODIUM OXYBATE), fruits, juices, tea, soda, coffee, & wine. As enamel is eroded away the softer dentin is exposed. Once the dentin is exposed, you may experience tooth sensitivity. Once the enamel on your teeth is gone, it’s gone!

It is recommended once Xyrem is taken that you NOT brush right away. Simply rinse with water to bring the pH level in your mouth closer to neutral. Then brush in the morning after waking up. Brushing right after taking a liquid oral medication or eating an acid rich diet puts you at higher risk for brushing away tooth enamel over time. For more information on tooth enamel, visit

toothHow to protect your Enamel:

  • Use fluoride and/or xylitol (natural anti-cavity protectant) toothpaste daily.
  • Ask your dentist if you need prescription fluoride toothpaste and ask about in office fluoride treatment.
  • ProNamel toothpaste helps protect against acid erosion, tooth sensitivity and cavities.
  • Brush twice daily for 2 minutes. Floss once at night and rinse once daily.
  • See your dentist every 6 months for routine cleanings or every 3-4 months to prevent gum disease.
  • Taking oral medications could also cause dry mouth. Recommended products for combating dry mouth are Biotene & ACT Dry Mouth Products.


  1. Denise on January 27, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    Ive been on Provigil/Nuvigil for 5 or 6 years. When I could finally afford to see my dentist, he was shocked at all the tooth decay in my mouth. So much so, that I’m looking at most likely dentures.
    I went online and found story after story about people who spent $1000.00’sof dollars on dental repair from this drug. Something they don’t warn you about.

  2. Tanda Engelsma on February 1, 2015 at 7:46 am

    Good Morning,
    Thank you for the dental information. I currently depend on Xyrem and Adderall for my N&C. I often take “drug holidays” to cleanse my system from amphetamines and the past two times I took a break from my stimulant I noticed a huge difference in my oral health. For two or more years I have been going to the doctor for mouth sores and they send me home with something they call miracle mouthwash that does not help much. I was told the sores were from my connective tissue disorder or possible Lupus. However, i am noticing that my sores greatly decrease when I avoid adderall. The doctors say the medicine is not causing the sores but I think they are wrong. I can’t imagine life if I had to stop that medication!!! Do you know if there is a connection between oral sores and adderall usage? Thanks for reading and any info would be greatly appreciated.

  3. Michelle on February 9, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    Thank you for this article. My son likes to brush after taking his Xyrem. Ugh. Guess he’s had four years of endangering his enamel. 🙁

    • KIMBERLY on December 14, 2015 at 4:29 am

      Within 3 months of taking zyrem, my teeth literally began just breaking,splitting
      , ,chipping..I was waking up with mouth full of tooth pieces! My teeth were always perfect until taking Zyrem. I’m now down to three upper teeth left w/o funding to get fixed. The Zyrem manufacturer needs to assist me now. As I had called when it started and they said it was not a side effect!! Arrrruuuggghhh If it crumbles your teeth, what’s the poison doing to your digestive system??
      I agree that taking care of your teeth n gums is top priority and really simple however most of the Narcolepsy/cateplexy meds will basically DESTROY your teeth regardless of your hygiene routine. The stimulants cause severe dry mouth and that also causes tooth decay. One more HUGE issue to deal with!! The gravity of this disease is so completely lost on pwon so we need start getting together and taking these problems into class action litigation!! That’s what forces drug companies to invest in safer more effective meds! Weenergy to stand up for ourselves.

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