The Growing Understanding Of The Link Between Asthma and Oral Health

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Just under ten percent of all Americans suffer from asthma. While each person’s experience with this respiratory disease is different, the struggles they face are very similar. It can impact their ability to work effectively, perform well in school, and even keep them from sleeping well. In severe cases, a permanent narrowing of the bronchial tubes can impact your ability to breathe. As if these struggles weren’t enough, recent research has revealed that asthma can also impact your oral health, causing oral sores, gum disease, and cavities.

The Risks To Your Oral Health Caused By Asthma

It may not be initially intuitive that asthma could have an effect on your oral health, but there are many factors of the condition that can lead to trouble. Below we’ll list each of the most common factors and how they impact your oral health.

  • Dry Mouth – The restriction of airflow that results from asthma attacks leads many sufferers to breathe through their mouths habitually. This can cause saliva to dry up, a condition known as dry mouth. Saliva defends your oral cavity by creating an inhospitable area for bacteria.
  • Oral Sores – One of the side effects of using an inhaler, many asthma sufferers experience this complication. The medicine used can lead to tenderness and irritation in the skin of the mouth. Mouth ulcers are one common result.
  • Thrush – Thrush is a yeast infection that occurs in the oral cavity. It’s rare to see this condition outside the very young, the elderly, or the immunocompromised. One commonplace to see it outside this group is asthma sufferers.

These three conditions are the most common oral health struggles faced by those who live a life with asthma. There is a selection of methods you can use to address these concerns and reduce their frequency.

  • Rinse After Each Inhaler Use – Every time you use your inhaler, rinse your mouth out with water. Brushing your teeth is an even better option, so you may consider keeping your toothbrush handy.
  • Drink Plenty of Water – Drinking water frequently during the day is a good way to keep dry mouth at bay.
  • Communicate With Your Dentist – Dentists are great sources of information regarding dental health, including as it relates to conditions like asthma. They may have strategies not listed here to help mitigate the risks.
  • Change Inhalers – Different people react to different medications in different ways, so consider changing your medication if you’ve been noticing issues.
  • Control Allergy Breakouts – While this is likely already part of your daily habits, be sure to avoid any allergens. This may mean wearing a mask, avoiding high pollen days, or other sources of your allergy.

These efforts can go be a significant step towards helping to control your asthma breakouts and the potential oral health risks that come with it.

Speak With Your Dentist For Help

If you’re still concerned about the effects asthma can have on your oral health, be sure to reach out to your dental health provider for an appointment. They’ll be happy to sit with you and do a consultation that covers the details of your condition, your lifestyle, and what options can really help you given those details.

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Dr. Brian Black

Dr. Brian P. Black was born and raised in Southern California. He graduated from Loma Linda University School of Dentistry (LLUSD) in May 2000 and then completed advanced training in the U.S. Air Force. He has had a broad experience within the dental industry. Dr. Brian is proudly serving his patients in Rancho Mirage, CA area.

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