Our oral health presents an interwoven system that directly affects our body in numerous ways. As the gateway to our system, our oral health can potentially contribute to the development of asthma, a condition that occurs in around 8% of the US population. While they may seem unconnected, these two conditions address the potential links between these two concepts, and understand the studies behind these problems can help you keep asthma from affecting your oral health and know what precautions to take.
How Asthma Affects Oral Health
Even breathing problems don’t truly contain the gist of what asthma can do to a person’s health. Asthma, because the constricts the airways, causes troubles with maintaining healthy exercise, contributes to depressive thoughts, becoming more prone to respiratory infections, and often limits daily interactions with the world. Even with medication and adjustments to diet, asthma can have a significant impact on oral health as well, including:
- Dry Mouth – Restricted airways often increase the incidence of dry mouth because a lack of saliva production caused by breathing problems can leave the teeth vulnerable to decay.
- Oral Sores – Oral sores, or ulcers, are often experienced by asthma patients, often caused by certain medications.
- Thrush – Thrush, while less commonly unheard of, is a fungal infection caused by the growth of yeast in the mouth and the tongue. It often results from the combination of dry mouth and other unhealthy conditions.
People with asthma often experience an increased risk of halitosis, periodontal disease, tooth decay, and other oral health problems. Many of the conditions listed above are also responsible for this increased risk but can often be treated by dentists. However, some studies, such as ones found through the Clinical and Molecular Allergy journal, look at how certain medications contribute to oral health problems in asthma patients and how those systemic effects of those medications, including bronchodilators and steroids, can cause oral health problems to increase. The study ultimately recommends that physicians tailor the medications prescribed to their patients regarding their health and help find asthma treatments that can benefit their lives without increasing side effects.
How to Prevent Asthma-Related Oral Health Problems
Many dentists and researchers suggest therapeutic services to provide disease control and thus prevent oral diseases from occurring. For dentists, assessing the medications prescribed to their patients can help improve their chances of reducing oral health problems. For patients, maintaining oral hygiene and diet and exercise can reduce the chances of diseases such as cavities and gum disease from developing.
If you’ve begun to experience symptoms such as thrust and dry mouth, then it’s important to see your dentist. Because of the effects asthma has on oral health, your dentist can provide you with the most effective solutions and treatments for controlling these diseases and helping keep your smile happy and bright. By visiting your dentist, you can achieve a balance between your asthma, your oral health, and your well-being that will help you gain the most out of your life.