Asthma & Your Oral Health
Asthma affects nearly 24 million Americans and is a serious medical condition that, if not treated proactively, can lead to trouble breathing, wheezing, and sometimes, even death. But at our Cincinnati dental offices, we also know it may have a negative effect on oral health.
What the Research Says
There’s been a long-standing belief that those with asthma have an increased risk for oral health problems, including cavities. Since many asthma sufferers tend to also be mouth breathers, the chance for dry mouth is greater. And dry mouth is a concern for your Cincinnati dentist. When saliva production decreases, its ability to properly rinse away germs and bacteria diminishes, and the likelihood of developing cavities goes up. Even if mouth breathing isn’t a factor, common asthma medications can also dry out the mouth and decrease saliva flow.
Cavities aren’t the only thing that has been linked with asthma. Asthma sufferers also have a higher chance of developing gum disease. According to a study conducted by the Journal of Periodontology, those surveyed who had gum disease were five times more likely to also have asthma. This is especially concerning because of the seriousness of gum disease. Gum disease has been linked to whole-body health issues such as heart disease, more respiratory problems in addition to asthma, and some cancers including kidney, pancreatic, and blood.
What Can You Do?
Whether the connection between asthma and cavities is true or not, there are some simple things you can do to ward off any negative side effects of asthma or asthma treatments.
- Drink Water. A lot of water. Water helps stimulate saliva flow and keeps the mouth hydrated. The more moist the mouth, the more effective it is at keeping damaging decay-causing bacteria away.
- Rinse with Water. After using an asthma treatment like an inhaler, rinse with water. Any drying ingredients in the medication won’t have the chance to linger in the mouth.
- Tell Your Dentist. Your dentist should know if you have asthma, as well as any medication used to control it. You should also let your dental team know if you have any type of anxiety during your visits. They can help keep you comfortable, calm, and avoid a possible asthma attack.
As always, the best way to prevent cavities is to brush twice a day, floss once a day, and see your dentist regularly. We’re always accepting new patients at our Cincinnati dental offices, so if it’s time for your checkup, give us a call to schedule an appointment.