Most patients don’t need an experienced Seaside family dentist to explain the connection that exists between their oral and overall health. Decades worth of study have found significant links between an individual’s oral and overall health. While you may have heard of the correlation between oral health and full-body inflammation, many patients don’t realize a connection exists between asthma and oral health.
Patients with asthma already need to take special precautions to safeguard their health. While carrying an inhaler and avoiding situations that could trigger an attack are already standard parts of asthma patients’ lives, maintaining their oral health also requires paying special attention to how their asthma can impact their teeth and gums. Let’s take a look at what asthma can do to a patient’s oral health so you too can feel like an experienced Seaside family dentist.
How Does Asthma Impact Oral Health?
One of the most common oral health problems encountered by patients with asthma is dry mouth. Dry mouth related to asthma usually develops as a result of two different issues.
Because asthma occasionally restricts a patient’s airflow, they are more likely to breathe through their mouths rather than their nose. The condition can also cause the mouth to produce less saliva or saliva that’s thinner and less suitable to the needs of the mouth.
Excessive mouth breathing, combined with poor saliva production, can lead to the development of persistent dry mouth, which has negative effects on a patient’s oral health.
Does Treatment for Asthma Negatively Impact Oral Health?
While asthma impacts the amount and quality of saliva in the mouth, another serious concern for a patient’s oral health is the medication commonly used to treat the condition. A prescribed inhaler can increase dry mouth in patients due to mouth breathing while also drying out oral tissues.
Asthma patients also commonly develop allergies as well, and sinus blockage further increases the risk of developing dry mouth. When combined with a prescription inhaler that dries out oral tissue, these issues can present a threat to a patient’s oral health.
How Does Dry Mouth Affect Oral Health?
When the mouth fails to produce enough saliva, it can allow harmful oral bacteria to accumulate on the surface of a patient’s teeth and gums. When this type of harmful bacteria is allowed to grow, patients can develop complications such as gingivitis, tooth decay, and gum disease.
The increase of oral bacteria can also have negative effects on a patient’s overall health. Decades worth of research has found that patients experiencing tooth decay and gum disease have a higher risk for developing a range of chronic health conditions that include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and dementia.
What Other Types of Oral Health Issues Have Been Linked to Asthma and Asthma Treatment?
Using an inhaler irritates the mouth and can lead to the development of lesions that cover the roof of the mouth and a patient’s throat. These lesions can occasionally become infected and need to be treated using antibiotics. Oral sores are not uncommon with the use of an inhaler and can develop in any part of the mouth, although the roof of the mouth ranks as the most common place for sores to develop.
How Can an Asthma Patient Better Protect Their Oral Health?
It’s important that patients with asthma be open with Dr. Santos about their condition. Make sure that Dr. Santos knows that you’ve received an asthma diagnosis and let him know what types of medications you’re taking to treat the condition.
Asthma patients may also need to see an experienced Seaside family dentist more frequently. Regular exams and cleanings will allow Dr. Santos to spot any potential effects asthma is having on your oral health early on before any permanent damage can occur.
Finally, take the time to clean your inhaler after each use. Ideally, patients would take the time to brush their teeth following the use of their inhaler, but rinsing with water can provide a suitable substitute if brushing isn’t an option.