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Asthma Can Be A Cause Of Additional Oral Health Problems

Man showing teeth using asthma inhaler

There is a trend that’s come and gone throughout the history of medical science, but it’s one that may be seeing its final transition. That trend involves thinking of the health concerns facing the body as being isolated to the specific organs or tissues that are being affected. Modern medical thought and studies have shown that our body is a deeply interwoven system in which every part of it can have an impact on every other part. This means that many conditions previously thought isolated are, in fact, systemic in nature. Oral health has long been understood to be connected to the health of our whole body, but recent studies have confirmed a link between asthma sufferers, their treatments, and oral health concerns.

Struggling With Breathing Is Just One Concern Asthma Sufferers Face

With nearly 8% of all Americans suffering from asthma, the drive to understand the condition and its ancillary effects has been substantial. What quickly became clear is that the respiratory system and its health can have a direct effect on oral health, making it of particular concern to asthma patients. Some of the oral health risks faced by asthma sufferers are outlined below:

  • Dry Mouth – When an attack sets in asthma, patients experience a tightening of the airway that leads to rapid, shallow breathing. These quick, short breaths can cause their saliva to rapidly dry out, leaving them with dry mouth. Saliva plays a critical role in the defense of our teeth against streptococcus mutans, the bacteria associated with dental decay.
  • Oral Sores – Asthma sufferers tend to be more prone to the development of oral ulcers due to dry mouth and the medication that they use to control their attacks. These ulcers can cause brushing to become uncomfortable, making it difficult to do properly.
  • Thrush – Our mouths are also susceptible to yeast infections, though they usually only affect the very young or elderly. Asthma sufferers, due once again to their medications and dry mouth, can occasionally be afflicted with this condition as well.

In addition to these conditions, periodontal disease, halitosis, and tooth decay are all concerns that affect asthma sufferers more frequently due to their condition. Thankfully there are things that can be done to limit the effects the above can have on their oral health.

Asthma Related Oral Health Concerns And How To Avoid Them

Unsurprisingly it starts with a dedicated and consistent routine of oral hygiene that involves flossing, brushing, and using mouthwash in the morning and evening. In addition, it’s vital that regular visits to the dentist are maintained, at least two a year, though more may be suggested by your provider. Rinsing the mouth out after every use of the inhaler can help prevent dry mouth, as can staying well hydrated at all times. Finally, for asthma sufferers who also live with allergies, antihistamines and avoiding their triggers can help as well.

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Dr. Marian Bradford Dr. Marian Bradford brings over 20 years of experience as a Dr. of Dental Surgery to the practice at Premier Dental of South Orange County. As a researcher, educator, and clinician, she brings a full range of services to patients in the Aliso Viejo, CA area, including restoration and cosmetic dentistry care.
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