Asthma is a terrible condition to have; it makes it hard to breathe, and the treatments to control it can be problematic, too. If you have asthma, you should know that your oral health may be more vulnerable than a person who doesn't have asthma. Read on to learn why asthma causes problems for your teeth, gums, and mouth and what you can do about it.
Having asthma can increase the chances of you developing dry mouth in two ways. Dry mouth can develop simply because people struggling to breathe may breathe through their mouths rather than their nose, causing saliva to dry up and evaporate. In addition, the inhalers that are often prescribed to help relax and open up the lungs to improve breathing may also cause dry mouth.
While dry mouth can cause an unpleasant sensation, it can also be devastating to your oral health. People with dry mouth are more likely to develop gum disease, cavities, and mouth infections.
Another problem that can come with asthma is developing mouth sores. Asthma inhalers that contain steroid drugs can potentially affect your immune system, causing an overgrowth of unwanted bacteria in your mouth. As a result, mouth sores may develop, which can be painful and unsightly. They can also easily become infected and that infection can spread throughout the mouth, potentially harming the gums and the roots of your teeth.
What To Do
If you're having any of these symptoms or just want to avoid them, there are a few steps you can take.
For dry mouth, try these tips:
Improve Saliva Flow - Chewing gum, sipping water, and medications like Salagen can help your mouth to stay wet and produce more saliva.
Breathe Through Your Nose - It can be scary to have an asthma attack, but rest assured that your nose can pull in air just as well as your mouth. Try to teach yourself to not breathe through your mouth when your lungs get tight.
To treat or prevent mouth sores, try these tips:
Rinse After Inhaling - When you use your inhaler, some of the residue of the chemical will stay in your mouth. Slosh some water around in your mouth after using your inhaler to loosen up this residue and wash it away.
Try Antifungals - If you already have mouth sores, talk to your dentist about prescribing an oral antifungal to combat the sores. It will help them to heal as well as preventing further outbreaks.
If you have asthma, you obviously need to use the medication your doctor prescribes to keep it under control. However, that doesn't mean that you have to put up with intolerable mouth health issues as a result. Follow these tips and see your dentist (like those at Pike Lake Dental Center) on a regular basis to maintain good oral health.