For the almost 20 million asthma sufferers in the US, having to be constantly prepared to take medications can be tiresome. On top of that, the use of these medications and the nature of the condition, itself can lead to reduced saliva flow, causing a constant state of dry mouth. As a result, asthmatic patients often have more cavities, bad breath and gum problems.
Asthma is a chronic condition in which the airways constrict and produce excess mucus, thereby obstructing airflow to and from the lungs. To counteract asthma attacks, patients often take medication in the form of bronchodilators, corticosteroids and anticholinergic drugs. Both the medications and the tendency of asthma sufferers to be mouth-breathers dry out the mouth. As a result, less saliva is produced, which is the body’s natural defense against bacteria on the teeth and in the mouth, putting the patient at a higher risk for cavities, dental erosion, gum disease and oral candidiasis, a fungal infection in the mouth. Also, the continual use of an inhaler may irritate the roof of the mouth, causing a lesion that could lead to infection.
If you are among the 20 million asthma sufferers in the US, you can take steps to retain your oral health, including:
- Telling your dentist know that you have asthma and which medications you take for it.
- Drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
- Rinsing your mouth with water or a fluoride mouthwash after using your inhaler.
- Diligently brushing and flossing every day.
Visiting your Phoenix dentist regularly is still an important part of maintaining your oral health. When you do, it’s important to let your dentist know ahead of time that you have asthma, and that
you continue to take your scheduled medication before the visit. Since anxiety is often cited as a trigger for an asthma attack, your DC Dental office will take extra measures to ensure that you’re comfortable during an exam. Give us a call to discuss how we can make you as comfortable as possible during your appointment.