Does Asthma Affect Oral Health?
About 20 million Americans have been diagnosed with asthma, a long-term lung disease that causes swelling and narrowing of the airways. The condition has been linked to oral health, with patients having increased risk for cavities, gum problems, and bad breath.
One of the main culprits negatively impacting an asthma patient’s oral health is the medication required to treat the condition. Some medicines, such as corticosteroids, decrease the flow of saliva. This leads to dry mouth, which in turn can increase cavities and bad breath. Dry mouth is worsened by the fact that many asthma patients breathe through their mouth. Inhaled steroids can also increase the risk of thrush, which is caused by an overgrowth of yeast in the mouth.
Here are some tips for keeping your mouth safe while still controlling your asthma:
- Make sure your dentist is aware of your condition, as well as all medications that you are taking.
- Rinse your mouth with water or a fluoride mouthwash after using your inhaler.
- Consider using a spacer device with your inhaler, which will spray the medication directly into your throat and avoid some of the direct risks to your mouth.
- Bring your inhaler with you to dentist appointments, both to show it to your dentist and to have your medication available in case you experience an asthma attack at the office.
- Ask your dentist if more frequent dental visits are recommended in your case.
- Inquire about adding fluoride supplements to your routine, especially in areas where the water is not fluoridated.
- Maintain good brushing and flossing habits.
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