Michael D. Weitzner, D.M.D., M.S.
Asthma and Your Dental Health
Posted by Michael D. Weitzner April 1, 2013
It’s spring and it’s glorious. Longer and warmer days mean we get to spend a little more time outdoors. For those with allergies and asthma it’s a tougher time. Flowers, trees and grasses put enough pollen in the air to create a heavy load on the respiratory system, leading to allergies. Pollen irritates the nasal membranes and causes a runny nose and scratchy eyes. Some experience a hard time breathing, but for those with asthma it can be much more serious.
Asthma is a disorder that causes the airways of the lungs to swell and narrow, leading to wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing. An attack can be brought on by stress or the environment. It is the most common chronic disease in childhood and is also a major public health problem in adult populations. In addition to its impact on overall health, asthma can also affect oral health not so much the disease, but rather the medications used to treat the condition.
There are a number of medications used to manage asthma, many of which effect the mouth, teeth and throat often causing dry mouth, increase the possibility of oral fungal infections, nausea, cough, a bad taste in the mouth, swollen saliva glands and burning sensations.
If you suffer from asthma and use medication to manage it, there are a number of things you can do that will help avoid the problems associated with their use.
- Always rinse your mouth with water (make sure to spit it out) after using an inhaler. It helps to remove traces of medicine from the mouth
- Attach a spacer to the inhaler. The spacer holds the sprayed medicine and more of the medicine enters your lungs with less settling in the mouth and throat.
- Drink lots of water to restore moisture and chew sugarless gum.
In addition, make sure you visit your dentist regularly:
- Take your inhaler to your dentist appointments.
- Give your dentist information about your latest attack, the factors that trigger your attacks and the severity of your condition.
- Tell your dentist what medications you are taking, some medications for asthma treatment have interactions with dental treatments or medications your dentist might prescribe.
- Increase frequency of dental visits with your dentist or hygienist to prevent gum disease and cavities.
Take care of yourself, and have a wonderful spring! Thank you for reading.