As one of the most prevalent diseases, almost one out of 10 Americans experience some degree of asthma. This respiratory disease commonly affects sleep schedules, work performance, physical activity, and academic efforts in adults and children who have this condition. In its most advanced stages, it can even cause bronchial scarring and leave many more prone to more serious respiratory diseases such as pneumonia and bronchitis. However, one of the less commonly known side effects asthma has is its impact on oral health.
What Happens To Our Oral Health With Asthma?
While the impact of asthma on our oral health is less obvious, asthma can have a major influence on all aspects of our health. Even though most asthma symptoms impact the lungs and airways, asthma symptoms can also have a huge mark on our teeth, gums, and other areas of the mouth because of its intricate connection with the lungs and throat airways. This includes:
• Dry Mouth: For those who have frequent asthma attacks, shallow rapid breathing overtime can cause symptoms of dry mouth. Saliva can easily evaporate during these episodes, and when our mouths are unable to produce enough saliva to keep our mouths damp and moist, dry mouth occurs. A dry mouth can lead to an increased risk of cavities and gum diseases because saliva has several properties that help wash away bacteria that can easily turn into plaque.
• Oral Sores: Oral sores most often occur for those who require asthma inhalers. In some cases, people with asthma can often experience sensitivities to the various ingredients found in their asthma medication. In these moments, their asthma inhalers can irritate the tissue lining inside the mouth and result in frequent oral sores or ulcers.
• Thrush: Although an uncommon affliction, thrust results from a yeast infection within the oral cavity. Asthma patients have a higher chance of experiencing this condition alongside those who are immunocompromised, children, and the elderly due to its drastic impact on the immune system and person’s overall health.
Although asthma doesn’t currently have any cures, each of these oral health complications can easily be prevented for those with this condition. Through care and attention, you can offset these conditions through good oral hygiene practices, including:
• Rinse After Each Inhaler Use: If you experience an asthma attack, make sure to rinse out your mouth with water afterward to help prevent the onset of dry mouth and oral sores.
• Drink Plenty of Water: Drinking water helps replenish saliva lost due to asthma medication and asthma attacks and thus reduces the number of bacteria in the mouth.
• Change Inhalers: If you feel that the side effects of your medication are affecting your oral health, consulting your allergist-immunologist about changing your medication can help reduce these effects.
• Control Allergy Breakouts: Knowing your symptoms and understanding what triggers your asthma attacks can help reduce the number of attacks over time. Taking precautions such as wearing masks during allergy season can also reduce the frequency of your asthma attacks.
Speaking With Your Dentist For Help
Most of all, speaking with your dentist can help give you additional guidance towards reducing your asthma attacks and giving you better oral health overall. You can easily learn about your options for controlling your asthma and having better oral health by scheduling a consultation today!