Asthma is a condition that affects nearly 10% of all Americans. While everyone with asthma has a different experience with this respiratory disease, there are commonalities. These shared concerns can make it challenging to maintain work performance, academic pursuits, and proper sleep. For those with severe symptoms, bronchial tubes scarring can interfere with the ability to breathe. In addition to respiratory complications, asthma has also been shown to impact our oral health. Increased risk of tooth decay, oral sore, gum disease, and other oral health complications can result from asthma concerns.
Oral Health Risks That Result From Asthma
On the surface, it may not immediately be apparent how asthma can affect oral health. When you consider the whole area that’s involved in the associated complications, it becomes more apparent.
Many of the complications that occur with asthma can be precursors to the development of oral health problems. We’ll touch on the most frequently occurring issues below.
- Dry Mouth – Rapid, shallow breathing is a hallmark of most asthma attacks. This increased rapidity of airflow through the oral cavity can cause dry mouth. This condition occurs when saliva dries up as a result. Our saliva plays an important role in eliminating bacteria and washing away debris.
- Oral Sores – Using an inhaler comes with certain potential side effects. One of these effects is the formation of oral sores. While not experienced by everyone, it can lead to irritation and tenderness of the mucous membranes. Ulcers can be one outcome of this.
- Thrush – When the oral cavity dries out, there’s an increased risk of yeast infection. When this occurs in the oral cavity, it’s known as thrush. This condition is uncommon outside of the elderly, the very young, or the immunocompromised. Outside of this demographic, it’s primarily seen in asthma sufferers.
These are the most common complications that patients with asthma can begin to experience. Thankfully there are ways to mitigate these concerns and ensure they don’t affect you often.
- Rinse After Each Inhaler Use – Be sure to rinse your mouth out following every use of your inhaler. Brushing your teeth is also a good idea, so keeping a toothbrush with you can be a good idea.
- Drink Plenty of Water – Don’t allow yourself to become dehydrated, as this can increase your risks of complications from inhaler use.
- Change Inhalers – Some asthma patients can have reactions to certain medications used for treating this respiratory concern.
- Control Allergy Breakouts – Allergies are known to exacerbate asthma attack frequency and severity. Avoiding high pollen days, wearing a mask, and avoiding your triggers are all good ideas.
- Communicate With Your Dentist – Speaking to your dentist about your asthma can lead to additional ideas for managing related complications. They can offer optional treatments, or provide guidance to manage your concerns.
All of these can be effective steps in controlling your asthma breakouts and the resulting health complications.
Speak With Your Dentist For Help
If you live with asthma and are looking for ways to protect your oral health, be sure to speak to your dental health provider. They’ll schedule a consultation with you, go over the details of your lifestyle, condition, and other options for managing your health.